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May 2, 2009



by Franz Patrick

AKA (2002)
★★ / ★★★★

This film reminded me of a very light version of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” because it’s about a sexually abused young man named Dean (Matthew Leitch) who pretends he’s the son of an aristocrat (Diana Quick). In his journey to find acceptance and identity, he meets an American (Peter Youngblood Hills) and his lover (George Asprey) who both happen to be interested in Dean. At first this picture was very frustrating to me because, despite watching rich people drugging themselves in order to feel something and being utterly miserable due to a lack of genuine relationships, Dean still wants to become one of them. Granted, his situation at home is egregious because of his spineless mother and abusive father, but I thought he’d want a vastly different alternative instead of merely having a title. But later on, the film evolved into something quite insightful. A particular character actually commented on the issue of working class idealizing the upper class and wanting to be like them even though they really have no idea what it’s like. That self-awareness let me know that Duncan Roy, the director, has a message that he wants to get across. Aside from class warfare and deceit, this also comments on the complexities of finding one’s sexual identity and how the frustration of not knowing can lead us to a downward spiral. Better yet, the film implies that we can have the control we need to steer our lives in the right direction. We might lose that control once in a while but we can wield it again if we hang on long enough and push through next time. Despite all of those positive qualities, I can’t quite give this a three-star rating because the middle portion is bit too saggy. The movie is only about an hour and fifty minutes but it felt longer than that. Cutting about fifteen to twenty minutes would’ve gone a long way. I liked the energy that the actors put in their characters so I’m not against slightly recommending it.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 12 2009

    did you see the tryptych version. it really is so much better. also, you realize that it’s a true story?

    • Nov 15 2009

      Hi, Mr. Roy. Thanks for reading. Honestly, I haven’t even heard of what triptych was until I looked it up. I guess I didn’t watch that version, but I’m curious to see it now. I heard it enhances not only the look of the film but the also the story. And yes, I was aware that the movie was based on your past. The movie was definitely interesting but I wish it had been more consistent (especially the middle).

  2. Nov 15 2009

    Thanks so much for getting back to me. In my defense the single screen version was never my intention and was forced upon me by Sundance releasing. The film was made specifically for the cinema so I am always sad when reviewers review the unintended cut. I do hope that you get to see the trypych which is in special features on the DVD.

  3. Nov 15 2009

    by the way, do please check my blog on


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