Film review: Another Country (1984), directed by Marek Kanievska, based on a play by Julian Mitchell
The description said something about Oxbridge World War II spies and promised Colin Firth, eleven years before Mr Darcy. It sounded a lot more exciting than it was. By “exciting” here, I mean “action-packed”. Sort of. Turns out Another Country is an interesting yet slow-moving boarding school drama starring Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Guy Henry and Cary Elwes.
Firth is a Marxist who doesn’t want to be named Prefect for ideological reasons (oppressive class system and all that, what what), Henry is the Head Boy, Everett wants to be a part of the prestigious “Gods” society, but being passionately in love with Elwes is a bit of an issue when you’re at a school where two “mutually masturbating” boys are discovered and one of them kills himself because of it.
And thus, the film plods along, following the outsider friends Everett and Firth, navigating the murky waters of boarding school student politics. Err, yawn?
No, I’m not being entirely fair. It’s not a dull film … as such. It’s quite interesting, actually, and the whole system of younger boys having to suck up to the older boys (sometimes literally, I’m afraid) is great inspiration when you roleplay a boarding school – albeit a nicer one than this un-named posh school.
Seeing a very young Colin Firth was a treat, especially since he’s a class rebel, and I do like rebels with causes. (Branson! ♥) Young Elwes is adorable, especially as he keeps gazing adoringly at Everett.
I’m not omitting character names to make a point, by the way, it’s just that I find it easier to refer to them using the names of the actors. Especially since the names of the characters didn’t exactly stick anyway, but then again I’ve seen American Pie multiple times and it has taken me years to remember what any of them are actually called, with the exception of Stifler. I’m not great with names.
If you’re interested in how 1930s boarding schools worked, this is probably a good example. If you’re interested in how it was to be gay in a 1930s boarding school, this is probably also a good example. Just don’t expect there to be students selling British secrets to the Russians.
3 out of 5 Prefects.