Political and romantic idealism with content and poetry
Thomas Lapins | Orlando, Florida USA | 09/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw 'Another Country' on the big screen in 1984. I was thirty and still an idealist and romantic. 'Another country' allows one the opportunity to bathe and flutter in all the glory of one's youth and youthful expectations. The film is not so much about straight vs. gay but, rather, about the traditionalist/conformist vs. the out of the box thinking of 'commies and queers'. It clearly draws the line between those who desire to march to the music of the masses, those who love to cloak themselves in mindless ritual and tradition, honors and awards, the applause and approval of those who can best serve their endless, though limited, ambitions and expectations vs. those who see the utter waste and stupidity and vulgarity of being part of the herd, those who think and question and act with an understanding beyond the politics and drama of the 'norm'.
'Another Country' holds up twenty years later. Rupert Everett embodies the grace of the upper class, the intelligence of the radical, and the poetry of the true romantic. 'Another Country' is filmed in the English tradition of good taste and endless esthetics, in the same way as "A Room With A View,' 'Maurice,' and 'Passage To India'. Idealism and romance are not the stuff of reality, but of the heart and mind and soul. It is important to be warmed and inspired and desired within the universe of the self, and 'Another Country' does that for me. Highly, highly recommended."
The Etiology of Rebellion
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 09/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1983 Julian Mitchell wrote a play based on fact about a young man (Guy Bennett) who, seeing the constraints of British society circa 1930, embraces his sexuality in a time when even the words were criminal, sees through the sad folly of the British class and empire system, and eventually abandons England to become a spy for Russia. The played starred a young 21-year-old Rupert Everett and a 20-year-old Kenneth Branagh as Guy's heterosexual roommate Tommy Judd, an obsessed Marxist as ready to leap out of the norm of British society as Guy - but for different reasons. Director Marek Kanievska adapted Mitchell's challenging play for the screen, and in 1984 ANOTHER COUNTRY became a sterling recreation of the play and a controversial film introducing the extraordinarily talented and continuingly popular Rupert Everett (who remains one of the few 'out' actors enjoying success in Hollywood). Colin Firth assumed the role of Tommy and Cary Elwes became the gay love interest for Everett's Guy Bennett. The film is one of the finest examinations of the rigid, archaically proper British schools for young men (Eton) where class is paramount in importance, rank reigns, and medieval views of sexuality and out of line thought are treated with public corporal punishment and (worst of all!) the inability to rise in the ranks of the 'important' lads. Throughout the film there is a powerful parallel between Guy's striving to become the head of the class being thwarted by his pursuing is passion for his love of men, and the 'religious zeal' approach of Tommy's absorption in Marxism, seeing Communism as the only way to correct the 'vile sickness' of current British politics and social strata. The undercurrents of bigotry are brought into focus when a fine young lad (Martineau) is caught in a sexual act with one of his classmates and is shamed into hanging himself. And when Guy's sexual tryst with James Harcourt is 'discovered', Guy is beaten in front of his compatriots, prompting him to see (with Tommy in agreement) the dead-end of British society and leave the remnants of a once glorious empire behind.
As a delightful Special Feature on this very well made DVD there is a scene from the stage production in the year prior to the film, and the dialogue between Rupert Everett and Kenneth Branagh is incisive and brilliant. This film is a masterpiece, not only in the screenplay, but also in the sensitive direction, the exquisite cinematography, and the amazingly superb acting of not only Everett and Firth, but of the entire large cast. An absolutely brilliant film."
Cricket, chummery, and colonialism
Charles S. Houser | Binghamton, NY | 09/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is a fictional version of the beginnings of a group of real-life British traitors. As such, it speculates on the psychological motives of one privileged, public school educated man (played brilliantly by Rupert Everett). As a homosexual who was unwilling to pretend to be anything else, and as a student whose roommate happens to be a well-read Marxist, Everett's character, Guy, makes an easy leap to communism. This seems facile to me and an insult to both Marxists and homosexuals, but it's a trope I can accept for the sake of getting on with the story. (As the story progressed, I felt less concerned about whether the real-life spies were being fairly portrayed and just enjoyed the story as a piece of narrative fiction.)
What I found most engaging and compelling about this film was its depiction of an elite and closed circle of society that most people never get to enter, but which is certainly emblematic of the way the larger world operates. Younger boys are exploited, older boys vie to be house masters and "gods" entitled to wear flamboyant waistcoats. Rules are made to be bent and broken. Secrecy rules and the students hold council and administer discipline without ever seeming to consult the "real" authorities. And their fathers who sent them to this school, came up through the exact same system, and sent their sons there anyway. A colonial empire, it seems, is fueled by silence and sadism.
The movie made me think of C.S. Lewis's memoire, SURPRISED BY JOY, in which he describes his own public school education. Although he was quite discreet, his depiction of the what boys in that situation go through was equally harrowing.
Although most of the DVD extras are interesting, I found the audio commentary by the director and DP a little too focused on lighting and camera angles (i.e., dull!). But the transfer to DVD is excellent and the DP certainly deserves to be proud of his work."
An enjoyable film with substance
T. Hulse | 01/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Another country, was an enjoyable film. The storyline was enough to draw me in and keep me watching. The acting quality was exceptional and the production quality was top quality. The story is one of acceptance between outcasts and the effects of rejection from the snobish upperclass of the time. It is set around 1930 in England. Rupert Everett plays the lead and did an outstanding job. Because of the vintage setting the film has little profanity by todays standard and not much in the way of nudity. The storty is well written. This is a good addition to my collection and was an excellent investment. It's clean enough for the conservitive, gay friendly folks and most who watch will find that they relate to the story on some level. We have all felt like outcasts at one time or the other in our lives. I'm sure You will enjoy this film."