Dir: Stephen Frears
Cast: Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina, Vanessa Redgrave
This film was chosen by and will be introduced in the Filmhouse by British artist Scottee.
Stephen Frears’ biopic portrays the spectacular life of British playwright Joe Orton (Gary Oldman), tracing his tempestuous relationship with Kenneth Halliwell (Alfred Molina) from their meeting at RADA to Orton’s violent murder aged 34. Re-released to mark 50 years since Orton’s death, the film also stars Julie Walters, Wallace Shawn and Vanessa Redgrave. Islington, London, 1967, a small flat – it’s five o’clock, it’s a quarter past five. An argument is brewing. Kenneth Halliwell is anxiously waiting the return of Joe Orton who strolls in late, in an outlandish new coat. Joe is riding high: his new play Loot is a sell-out, he’s just sold the film rights and he’s getting offers everywhere. Kenneth is deeply unhappy, struggling to sell collages to friends and bitterly identifying as his lover’s “personal assistant.”
Kenneth’s evening of indignity at his exhibition opening is another chapter in an increasingly dysfunctional relationship with Orton – a once loving union of partners in crime, now a sham marriage simmering with toxic jealousy and unhealthy dependency. As Halliwell’s misery intensifies, Orton’s successes multiply – their bond further distorts and Halliwell decides to take drastic action.
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