Another Life (DVD Review)26 Oct, 2008 By: David Greenberg
Prebook 10/28/08; Street 11/25/08
Stars Natasha Little, Nick Moran, Ioan Gruffudd, Imelda Staunton, Rachael Stirling, Tom Wilkinson.
Cut from the same cloth as countless British classics, Another Life will appeal to audiences looking for a hardcore drama, a lushly produced period piece and a distinctly painful examination of the human condition.
Reminiscent of other powerful English films such as Dance With a Stranger and Let Him Have It, Another Life is a dramatization of an actual criminal case that rocked Great Britain in the late 1920s and still resonates.
The Thompson-Bywaters case as depicted in the film concerns a crime of passion fueled not only by personal impulses but by the rigid, suffocating upper-crust social climate. Adding layers to the complexity of the plot is the fact that main character Edith Thompson (Little) is oddly sympathetic, even though she is not completely likable. Edith is a bit of a wild child, and when she eventually finds herself in a cold, boring marriage, her eye begins to wander and her uncontrollable instincts drive her to stray.
A complicated, difficult story, the film employs beautiful, muted colors and scrumptious production design to underscore a situation that is as far away from black and white as possible. Director Philip Goodhew benefits from a talented, attractive cast, including the always-strong Wilkinson in a supporting role.
While the events depicted in Another Life took place ages ago, the harrowing climax is likely to live on in the minds of viewers for a long time.