Mentor is the debut feature from David Carl Lang (or David Langlitz, as he appears to be known in his movie life), a man who happens to have spent the last two decades as the principle trombonist for New York’s Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, a position he still holds. In 1998, Lang’s short, Angel Passing, about a concert pianist, was shown at Sundance and other festivals and won a handful of awards, but Mentor is his first work since. Starring Rutger Hauer as Sanford Pollard, a professor who grows too close to two of his students, Mentor is also pretentious and self-indulgent.

From its opening moments, you sense that Mentor is doomed. That first scene begins with a close-up of Hauer’s unshaven face, as he tells someone -- obviously a student -- that he doesn’t like the work he’s just read. In response, the student angrily begins talking about personal motives, and love, and it’s obvious that the two have a relationship that goes beyond traditional mentorship. It’s also obvious, however, how trite and contrived the screenplay is, and that the acting is not good enough to rise above its weaknesses.