Stars: Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina, Vanessa Redgrave, Wallace Shawn, Lindsay Duncan
Genre: Biography, Drama
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 111 minutes
Joe Orton was briefly the embodiment of a certain kind of '60s rebel, and Stephen Frears's film adaptation of the British playwright's biography successfully conjures up that outrageous spirit. The hostile, fussy codependency between Orton (Gary Oldman) and his brooding lover Kenneth Halliwell (Alfred Molina) forms the centerpiece of a story that features not only Orton's success and his brutal demise at Halliwell's hand, but also a vivid depiction of what gay sexuality meant in a repressive era. What really propels it are the performances--Oldman's naughty, overgrown boy could believably have written Orton's romps, and the powder-keg priss rendered by Molina helps establish motivations that the script lacks. It's always good to see Vanessa Redgrave (ideal as Orton's agent), and Julie Walters has a hysterically unrecognizable bit as Orton's exasperated mum. If the film is a bit aloof, it's also crisp and often acidly funny (Orton and Halliwell do jail time for writing luridly phony synopses in library books). Frears has done a memorable bit in bringing both a man and his time to life. --Steve Wiecking
No. Have a wank.
Have a wank? Have a wank? I can't just have a wank. I need three days' notice to have a wank. You can just stand there and do it. Me, it's like organizing D-Day. Forces have to be assembled, magazines bought, the past dredged for some suitably unsavoury episode, the dog-eared thought of which can still produce a faint flicker of desire! Have a wank, it'd be easier to raise the Titanic.
I just want to go to the awards! I could! Look, "Joe Orton and guest." I'd behave. I wouldn't say a word, I promise.
Because it's for me. I wrote it.
I gave you the title.
Okay, so when they have awards for titles, you can go to that.
Ken was the first wife. He did all the work and the waiting and then...
Well, first wives don't usually beat their husbands' heads in.
No. Though why I can't think.
So what does that make you? The second wife?
Better than that, dear. The widow.