Friday, Oct. 25, 9:30 p.m.
Lincoln Theatre, $9
What is class? What is social status? What makes one person another’s better? What if, at the heart of it all, it was just a big lie?
Those are the questions of A.K.A., the true-life-based story of Dean Page, a young, lower-class British teen who longs for a better life. His mother regales him with stories of her friendships with the rich and royal, whom she serves in her job as a waitress. When he’s thrown out of his home by his physically and sexually abusive father, Dean’s charming naÃ¯vetÃ© lands him an art gallery job with the tyrannical Lady Gryffoyn, who develops an odd soft spot for the boy.
Friction with Gryffon’s son Alexander leads to Dean being thrown out of another home, and he lights out for Paris, where he assumes Alexander’s identity and becomes the toast of Paris social life, and establishes himself in the home of David, an older English noble.
A.K.A. opens with the words "Lies are like wishes," a thought later completed by Dean: "…if you tell enough of them, some are bound to come true." He tells plenty, and his rise (and inevitable fall) highlight the lies and wishes inherent in a system by which some are considered "better" than others simply by dint of birth, a tendency of human nature that seems to occur whether or not an official system of nobility is in place.
While A.K.A. is pretty to look at — it does call to mind some of the images of The Talented Mister Ripley, but it doesn’t quite have the same scope or sumptuousness to its visuals — director Duncan Roy has saddled his film with a three-screen format. At all times, the screen is filled with three views, often three different angles on the same action, with gradual overlap into the next scene. It’s interesting for a while, but quickly grows tiresome. Most directors have trouble finding the right visual for a single shot. Finding three of the same thing is asking too much of both the director and, ultimately, the audience. — SB