Director: Junfeng Boo. Starring: Firdaus Rahman, Wan Hanafi Su. Singapore 2016. 96 mins. Malaysian with English subtitles. This slow-burning psychological drama set in the fictional Larangan maximum-security prison is told from the point of view of a young correctional officer, Aiman, who is ready to do anything to become apprentice to strict veteran hangman Rahim (Wan Hanafi Su). Aiman’s reasons are not wholly professional but are born of a desire to reconnect with a past that haunts him, while Rahim is pleased to have finally found an heir to his trade. The young apprentice’s morbid fascination with the chief and their developing father-son-like relationship is the heart of the film, the duo’s compelling performances matched by the superb sound design and tautly woven narrative. Far from a conventional prison movie, Apprentice addresses the issue of the death penalty through the eyes of an executioner: Boo’s self-penned tale examines the state’s stringent capital punishment law and the effect it has on convicts’ relatives. Selected as part of this year’s Un Certain Regard section in Cannes, Apprentice is also the Singaporean entry for Best Foreign-Language Film at next year’s Academy Awards.