Length: 114 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 30 January 2012
Cat No: 7953629
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Look Back in Anger
Actress Judi Dench co-directs this made-for television adaptation of John Osborne’s ground breaking stage play - set only in the grotty... Read More
It’s hard to credit now that John Osborne’s play was vilified by most critics on its release, so confirmed is its classic status. It sparked off a succession of “Angry Young Man” dramas, including Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. This 1989 adaptation marks Judi Dench’s sole directorial effort, and stars Kenneth Branagh as Jimmy, the bitter anti-hero, and Emma Thompson as his weary wife, just before both went on to hugely successful film careers. Dissecting the lot of the working-class male in 1950s Britain, Branagh excels in the role – a burning and bitter mass of unfulfilled potential, he captures the character’s essence more effectively than Richard Burton’s interpretation in the flawed 1959 film.
Some of this adaptation’s strongest scenes are those between Thompson and Siobhan Redmond as her friend/love rival, with Dench emphasising the feminine relationship among the male grandstanding – there is a streak of misogyny in the play that Dench tempers with her sensitive focus. Her film is a claustrophobic and moving portrayal of lives at the end of their tether.