A timely film in the wake of the execution of Timothy McVeigh and the conspiracy theories surrounding his arrest, "Another Life" provides a take on the complexities of the real-life case of Edie Thompson and Freddy Bywaters - and Edwardian society’s baying for blood in the wake of a crime of passion.
Edie (Natasha Little) is a flighty, impulsive woman who dreams of being romantically swept off her feet. Her husband Percy (Nick Moran) is a staid, detached cold fish who disapproves of his wife’s extravagances and ardent behaviour in bed. Trapped by convention in a desolate marriage, Edie begins a torrid affair with Freddy (Ioan Gruffud), a younger man so desperate to be with her he may stop at nothing to release her from matrimony.
Based on the real-life murder trial of Thompson and Bywaters, "Another Life" seeks to empathise both with the lovers and the cuckolded husband by pointing a finger at the patriarchal and hypocritical society that readily judged adulterous women as capable of murder and punished prurience.
Though elegantly filmed, incandescent and dreamlike, it is the subtle and compelling performances by Moran, Gruffud, and Little which really make this historical postscript fizz with scorching sensuality, desire and desperation. And out of the three of them, it is Moran who impresses most, neatly proving he has more to offer than cockney gangster flicks by infusing a role that could have so easily been that of a mere victim with a superlative soulfulness and yearning that elevates proceedings to an altogether more tragic level.
"Another Life" is released in UK cinemas on Friday 15th June 2001.