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64 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "They're not empire-builders - that requires imagination; they're empire-rulers..."
Finally...the long-awaited UK DVD release of this classic film - which inexplicably has already been available on DVD elsewhere for several years.

For people who have not caught the film previously, a brief synopsis: 'Another Country' opens in the USSR, 1983, with an elderly Englishman, Guy Bennett, giving an interview to a journalist on why he became a Russian...
Published on 11 Feb 2008 by Son of Nietzsche

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Ties in well with The Cambridge Spies.
Published 5 months ago by Tracy F.


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64 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "They're not empire-builders - that requires imagination; they're empire-rulers...", 11 Feb 2008
This review is from: Another Country [DVD] (DVD)
Finally...the long-awaited UK DVD release of this classic film - which inexplicably has already been available on DVD elsewhere for several years.

For people who have not caught the film previously, a brief synopsis: 'Another Country' opens in the USSR, 1983, with an elderly Englishman, Guy Bennett, giving an interview to a journalist on why he became a Russian spy. The bulk of the film then flashes back to his schooldays at Eton in the early 1930s, where the young Bennett (handsome Rupert Everett) has a crush on another pupil (the equally-handsome Cary Elwes). Meanwhile, Bennett's best friend, Tommy Judd (Colin Firth), consistently preaches revolution and Stalinism. The two main characters, the queer and the communist, are the outsiders in this look at the schooling of the future ruling class; each facing their own conflicts and the challenge of introspection.

Part coming-of-age, part social commentary, 'Another Country' could therefore be viewed as "Tom Brown's Schooldays" meets "Maurice" meets "Dead Poets' Society", with all the now-familiar boarding school fare (authoritarian prefects, a furtive fumbling scene between pupils, corporal punishment, youthful idealism). It is curiously bland in some respects (the sexual aspects are muted and tend to favour a spiritual/Uranian love over sensuality) and to some extent may appear dated.

Nevertheless, the film's relevance remains in its insight into anti-establishmentarianism. Indeed, the writer (Julian Mitchell) envisaged the work as being only incidentally concerned with boarding schools and homosexuality; the focus was intended rather to be on the 'psychology of the traitor', expounding his belief that the makings of the 'betrayal' are not simply ideological, but are sowed at an earlier stage. And to this extent is it necessary to note the background: this fictional story arose from the Burgess/McLain 'Cambridge spies' incidents; with the specific question of whether there was something identifiable in their early life that led those involved to 'betray' their class and country.

Prospective viewers should also take into account that 'Another Country' was originally a play - and consequently while the ending may seem abrupt and 'untidy', it was entirely suitable for its intended theatrical medium. Questions remain unanswered, nothing is resolved. Yet this remains, in part, one of the factors that ensures the film's enduring quality...it poses thoughtful inquiries that still deserve contemplation. This aside, 'Another Country' will be a treat for fans of Rupert Everett, Cary Elwes and Colin Firth (each of whom gives an exceptional performance) and it has certainly earned its place within the boarding-school/coming-of-age genre.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 20 Oct 2008
This review is from: Another Country [DVD] (DVD)
I cant speak highly enough of this film. Everett and Firth bounce off each other with effortless charm and Rupert's dry sarcasm mixed with Firth's competent reassurance do everything possible to make this a jewel of a film, two fantastic actors and a great and stifling story of repressed homosexuality.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Everything beautiful is slightly lopsided", 10 July 2010
This review is from: Another Country [DVD] (DVD)
Rupert Everett totally steals this film as Guy Bennett (modelled on notorious Cambridge spy Guy Burgess), in the story of his attempts to pursue a relationship with another boy at his Eton-esque public school c. 1930s in the midst of complicated school politics and punishments. Colin Firth brings a terrific sense of adolescent confidence to the portrayal of Judd, Bennett's Marxist room-mate, and the rest of cast excels at capturing a spirit of tension and repression. The unconvincing scenes are all the more notable because there are so few of them. You wonder whether Judd is really necessary to the story except to give Bennett a character to bounce off. Also, the scenes of Bennett with boyfriend Harcourt seem oddly chaste. There's no implication that their relationship exists on anything more than a Uranian-esque romantic sensuality plane, which is not what one might expect from schoolboys, even if they are very sophisticated. Finally, the film is bookended by the older Bennett (Everett again with extreme makeup) discussing the relationship between his schooldays and spying in two scenes that could easily be removed without losing anything of value.

However, overall, this is a terrific film, perhaps even better than the original play. You couldn't ask for a better cast, who are on top form.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little local issue, 24 May 2005
By 
Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Another Country, a film starring Rupert Everett and Colin Firth (in their very early work), is set in the upper-class British society of the inter-war period. Its central idea is to demonstrate the difficulties of growing up even in the midst of privilege when one is different. Everett plays Guy Bennett, an intelligent and popular student at a public school (in America, read private school) who doesn't seem to be growing out of `schoolboy tendencies' as are the others. The film is done in a flashback sequence; Bennett is in his old age, reflecting back on the origins of the troubles in his life (as it turns out, Bennett is one of the several British intelligence agents who during the Cold War defected to the Soviet Union). Bennett sees the problems starting in prep schools such as his (Eton is not specifically named, but heavily implied, particularly given the history of the real British intelligence defectors). There is an inability for the culture around to face the truth, and the attempt by the school (instructors, alumni, and fellow students alike) to pressure all into a conformity that doesn't always fit. Bennett wants to be openly homosexual; his friend Tommy Judd (Firth) wants to be a nonconformist Communist; their nemesis is not from the adult world, but rather the fellow student Fowler, who is in charge of the school's military brigade, and the one most keen on enforcing rules and mores.
This is an interesting film for British audiences because it exposes an unspoken element to the class struggle by looking inside the upper class and seeing division as opposed to monolith and uniformity. It is interesting for American audiences because it exposes a different world from the ones most Americans understand readily, but one not so far removed in terms of influence both politically and culturally. Most interesting is the interplay of the cultural elements, sometimes explicitly critiqued by the character Tommy (who doesn't quite do the Shakespearean aside to the audience, but whose commentary is obviously tailored more for the viewing audience than for the other characters at times); most of the time, however, the cultural elements are assumed and understood as natural by the characters, causing viewers outside the British upper class (and some of those in it) to ponder just what is going on with all of these.
One of the interesting things of the piece is that it is a questioning film, questioning the way society brings up its young, with the questioning being done by the young. However, for young people the ending is unsettling - Guy Bennett is in a small Moscow flat, having defected to the Soviet Union with intelligence secrets, effectively betraying his culture and nation; we discover that Tommy died in the Spanish Civil War fighting against Franco, and many of the other high-flyers in school end up as lack-luster and disappointing figures (even the one who makes it being a Cabinet minister somehow lacks the image of success - when one is trained from birth to take the highest office, is it really much of an achievement to attain it?).
It is a rather slow-moving film in terms of camera shots, and a rather conservative film in terms of cast and action (there are no car chases, no violence, no adult liasons other than hints and suggestions, etc.). It is one that has never made much of an impact on American audiences, and the British audiences who enjoyed the film were predominantly an older crowd.
The issues of metaphor, iconic imagery and modern society's method of making sense of imagery abound here. In particular, there is Baudrillard's idea of simulation - in a sense, the film Another Country is a simulation of a simulation: the film itself is a simulation of a sort, and the characters and school environment depicted are also a simulation of certain relationships and aspects that the world should, in the eyes of the community at large, take on even if it never really achieves the fullness (and indeed, would be unlikely to like the results if it should). This taps into the concept of hegemony drawn from critical analysis thinkers such as Gramsci and Williams.
The world in the film Another Country no longer exists. Of course, the world in Another Country never really existed, but was a cultural construct for the particular class. God rarely entered into the matter, apart from standard prayers at meal-times, awkward impromptu Bible study when something `immoral' had happened, and at times of personal or national crisis.
Stylish, well-acted, interesting in scope, this is an under-appreciated gem. Comparison has been made, rightly so, to the lavish Merchant-Ivory productions of E.M. Forster novels around the same time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars still stands up very well, 22 Feb 2012
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Another Country [DVD] (DVD)
Seeing this film again has been just as enjoyable as it was back in the eighties, when I remember really loving it. At that time it was principally the romance which got to me, and the scene in the boat, chaste and fairly brief as it is, resonated with me for months. There is something very convincing about it, and I like the way the two boys look so completely different, with the blond one really having something of an angel. Rupert Everett is brilliantly cast and has just the right sardonic disenchantment, but he manages be very funny at the same time. The critique of the public school system is obviously dated, although it would certainly have been true in the thirties, and indeed for most of their history. It makes an interesting hypothesis to explain why someone might turn against their country, and the circumstances of his grudge are well delineated. I'm sure that the world you are in at that age is all-important, and for the viewer it is interesting to consider its politics and power-play as a microcosm of society. Of course some of the traditions persist, but where they have been dropped it is no doubt partly because of films like this one (or Julian Mitchell's play) which draw them to public attention. And, as many of the key figures in our present government were educated in such an establishment, the film makes you think about how these changes may have meant that a different kind of person tends to come out of these schools now. As a film, however, it gives great pleasure both in its visual flair - a sequence involving chapel has a wonderful choral background - and as a chance to see Rupert Everett and Colin Firth in early roles, both at their absolute best. Anna Massey also appears in a very effective cameo - how different from her appearance in Peeping Tom, but equally adept at getting to the heart of the role in a few well-judged brushstrokes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hypocrisy and snobbery of the British public school system exposed and the school serves as a mirror of values of society, 10 Jun 2008
By 
Amelrode (Vilvoorde) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Another Country [DVD] (DVD)
Based on the award winning play by Julian Mitchell, the film explores the effect of Public School life in the 1930's on Guy Bennett (Rupert Everett) as his homosexuality and unwillingness to "play the game" turns him eastwards towards communist Russia.The hypocrisy and snobbery of the British public school system is exposed and the school serves as a mirror of values hold by society at large in the 1930's. There is a key scene when Guy captures the whole problem of society and homosexuality in one line: "The way some people make love (hetrosexual)makes them superior (to homosexuals)".

The cast is impressive: Rupert Everett as Guy along with Colin Firth as Judd, Michael Jenn (Barclay), Robert Addie (Delahay), Rupert Wainwright (Donald Devenish), Tristan Oliver (Fowler), Cary Elwes (James Harcourt), Piers Flint-Shipman (Menzies) and Anna Massey (Imogen Bennett) give a splendid performance and re-created the atmosphere of public school and upper class society to perfection. I love the language but in the end it is rather sad and one is quite happy to live nowadays. It is a great film and a joy to watch.

BTW: Also present in three scenes as an extra without any dialogue is The Earl Spencer, brother of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I shan't be forgotten.", 14 Oct 2009
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Another Country [DVD] (DVD)
As the story opens, a British traitor is talking about the beginnings of his rebellion at a posh public school in the 1930s. In a flashback, we follow classmates Guy and Tommy (Rupert Everett and Colin Firth); Guy is struggling with hiding his homosexuality and Tommy is a budding Marxist.

This fictionalized story of infamous spy Guy Burgess' youth is a fascinating look at that very British institution, the public school with its young aristocrats luxuriating in their privileged lives. Though the movie moves very slowly and has little action, I still enjoyed the ambiance and the gorgeous scenery in and around Oxford. Everett and Firth are amazingly young and give excellent performances. It is interesting to note a youthful Earl Spencer playing one of the students (good job!) and some filming was even done at Althorp, the Spencer home.

On the downside, the story fails to fully explain why Guy became a Russian spy and his "old man" hair and make-up are truly ridiculous, but I still recommend the movie as an enjoyable look at traditional school life. 3.5 stars.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of my first gay emotion, 21 April 2004
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a wonderful movie as simple and magic as the joy of first love and intense as the discovery of oneself. well balanced, very romantic and very elegant, amusing and moving, tender, never melodramatic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Truly Wonderful, 1 Feb 2010
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This review is from: Another Country [DVD] (DVD)
I've seen this film many many times from when it was first shown in the 80's. The relationship between Everett and Firth is cuttingly absorbing. The scenery and backdrops just throw you into a 1930's idyll of protected public school and middle-class and upper-class morality - but underneath, the tension and repession of some of the characters' experiences leave this ready to burst at the seams. A mixture of idealism, repression, anger and frustration fills the scenes which hurl you along towards the inevitable tragedy - but interspersed with cracking lines: Judd: "You know, the thing I hate most about cricket? Its such a damn good game!". As a precurser to the Cambridge Spy scandal of the 50's and 60's, this is a great drama.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another country(DVD):, 27 Dec 2009
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This review is from: Another Country [DVD] (DVD)
The film depicts the difficulties of being gay in a repressive society.
Wonderful actors!
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