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Judi Dench directs Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson in the Renaissance Theatre Company's highly acclaimed presentation of John Osborne's landmark play a work which brought in the generation of 'Angry Young Men', revolutionising theatre and having such a profound effect on Drama that it is still felt to this day.
A story of disparate characters locked into the raw misery of a self-destructive marriage driven towards crisis point, Look Back in Anger features astonishing performances from both its celebrated leads. Branagh's turn as the mercurial central character, a disappointed working-class graduate railing furiously against bourgeois respectability, was hailed by Osborne as 'the best Jimmy Porter ever', while Thompson brings enormous sympathy and depth to the role of the long-suffering Alison the seeming embodiment of all that Jimmy abhors.
Despite it's divisive and controversial reputation, this is one of the most elegantly constructed dramas of the 20th century; tension is built and released expertly and there is a clever series of repetitions (of images and moods, tone and atmosphere) which makes the whole experience similar to hearing a piece of music.
I've seen the play several times since in the theatre and perhaps that is where it belongs and works best, but the intensity of this film cannot be denied.