Title: Another Country
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director: Marek Kanievska
Writer: Julian Mitchell
Music: Michael Storey
Cinematography: Peter Biziou
Adrian Ross Magenty
Adapted from Julian Mitchell’s eponymous play, ANOTHER COUNTRY is a biographic recount of Guy Burgess’ repressive campus days, which foreshadows his later defection to Russia as a spy.
Set in 1930s, in an all-male British public school, Guy (Everett) is a homosexual student with a casual and elegant bearing, his best friend is a heterosexual communist Tommy (Firth), both spurn the stiff hierarchy system of the school, from junior to prefect until the gods, the oppressive atmosphere is stifling. Triggered by a newly suicide accident owing to homosexual action, the management tier restricts any activity likewise. Guy finds himself more and more befuddled about his future and a cute peer James (Elwes) has come into his life, whom he is instantly besotted with. But with their disruptive nature, both Guy and Tommy have to pay their prices and end up as expendable pawns in the school’s power struggle.
The film runs within a neat 90-minutes, starts with a writer interviews Guy in Moscow in 1980s (in my opinion it would be much better to hire a real aging actor for the role instead of using the horrible make-up on Everett), immediately the film flashbacks to Guy’s youth, carefully limns how the formulaic and orthodox school life slowly erodes his belief and viewpoint of the world, but not his sexuality. Both Rupert Everett and Colin Firth are in their early twenties and their untainted countenances could only arouse a nostalgic reminiscence which luckily doesn’t overshadow their excellent performances here, especially Firth, an idealistic socialist, a devoted friend, the two-hander between him and Everett gains lots of favorable impressions for the film while Elwes and Everett’s touchy-feely moments looks a shade phony and effete.
Nevertheless, I give an appreciative 7.8/10 out 10 for this film, director Marek Kanievska’s debut, it has a killing score, mellifluous and nerve-soothing, the script is potent and caustic in supporting the film’s narrative arc with a great ensemble and my sweet spot is the period backdrop, whose canon and moral leverage are unapologetically degenerate, but all its trappings are shining with their own allure to generations after and this film is a lucky beneficiary as well.