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Based loosely on his own experiences, writer-director Duncan Roy's feature debut recalls SIX DEGREES OF SEPERATION (1993) by way of THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY (1999), shaped by the very particular rules and mores of England's notoriously unforgiving class system. 1979: Gay, lower-middle class teenager Dean Page (Matthew Leitch) dreams of escaping dreary suburban...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Based loosely on his own experiences, writer-director Duncan Roy's feature debut recalls SIX DEGREES OF SEPERATION (1993) by way of THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY (1999), shaped by the very particular rules and mores of England's notoriously unforgiving class system. 1979: Gay, lower-middle class teenager Dean Page (Matthew Leitch) dreams of escaping dreary suburban Romford and the taunts of a violent, sexually abusive father (Geoff Bell) whose bitter, threatening refrain — "[you] think you're too good for us" — is aimed equally at Dean and his brutalized mother, Georgie (Lindsey Coulson). Georgie works at an upscale restaurant and imagines that the snooty aristocrats she serves, including the imperious and widely loathed Lady Francine Gryffoyn (Diana Quick), are actually her friends; she and Dean spend their happiest moments leafing dreamily through glossy celebrity magazines together. After a particularly vicious fight, Dean's father throws him out, and Dean makes a beeline for London's exclusive Eaton Square, vaguely hoping that Lady Gryffoyn will help him. On a whim, she does, giving him a job in her art gallery and even letting him stay in her home. Lady Gryffoyn's surly son, Alexander (Blake Ritson), takes an instant dislike to Dean and makes sure he knows he's not welcome, but before he leaves Dean has picked up a posh accent, some gentleman's clothes and a credit card. A chance encounter with vivacious American rent boy Benjamin (Peter Youngblood Hills) prompts Dean to move to Paris, where he assumes Alexander Gryffoyn's identity and falls in with the crowd of jet setters, club crawlers and party boys who swirl around debauched tax exile David Glendenning (George Asprey). Dean can't believe how easy it is to impersonate a member of the aristocracy, and revels in the power and privilege that come with a title. And, in the pre-electronic scanner and in-store computer network era, it was shockingly easy to run up vast credit card bills without being caught. Subtle performances and the "you are there" immediacy conferred by digital video give Roy's film the feel of a series of stolen moments. But the most striking thing about this story of secrets and lies is that it unfolds in three simultaneous images &#151 each scene is shown simultaneously from several perspectives. While Roy's use of multiple images isn't as audacious as Mike Figgis's in TIME CODE (2000), it effectively underscores the fragmentation of Dean's life before his gilded house of cards comes tumbling down.

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  • Released: 2002
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Based loosely on his own experiences, writer-director Duncan Roy's feature debut recalls SIX DEGREES OF SEPERATION (1993) by way of THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY (1999), shaped by the very particular rules and mores of England's notoriously unforgiving class sys… (more)

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