as Dean Page
as Lady Gryffoyn
Critic Reviews for AKA
As the movie goes on (and on), this triple-image effect ultimately starts to feel less effective than what a single, well-placed camera might convey.
The three-panel format gives the digitally shot picture enormous psycho-emotional layering.
Does the radical choice to split up the action contribute anything that couldn't be achieved in a more traditional format? The answer is a well-earned affirmative, and the drama is solid enough to make the whole enterprise worthwhile.
Coupling the plot with the presentation -- and the appealing cinematography -- makes AKA a film not to miss.
It's an eloquent testament to the fragmentary nature of identity.
Audience Reviews for AKA
Dean, an attractive, 18-year old man living in working-class Thatcher-era Britain, longs to go to college and 'make something' of himself. Trapped in a household with an abusive step-father and a mother who is either unaware or in denial about the situation, events lead to him becoming looked after by a wealthy art-gallery owner - a Lady Gryffoyn no less - and eventually to him assuming the identity of her 18-year old son, Alexander Gryffoyn. He soon gains entrance to the circles of the privileged and becomes well liked when he moves to Paris, eventually becoming entangled in the attentions of a rich bachelor, David, and Benjamin, an American with secrets of his own.
Comparisons with The Talented Mr. Ripley are inevitable and favorable, although aka is much less of a conventional thriller and there's a greater emphasis on sexuality and much richer insight into the protagonist's motivations and psychology. An acquired taste thanks to an extremely low budget (which translates to a gaudy visual style and home-video quality footage), this nevertheless captures its late 70s setting perfectly and is aided by some fantastic performances. Matthew Leitch, Peter Youngblood Hills and Lindsey Coulson as Dean, Benjamin and Dean's mother respectively all give committed and truthful performances. Elsewhere some of the acting borders on caricature, and the music becomes overly invasive on more than one occasion. The section where a scene is split into three frames is also difficult to follow and is a technique that doesn't work (there's an alternate version of the film available on UK DVD which is apparently shown in this three frame format for the duration and is by all accounts unwatchable).
A complex, almost voyeuristic film, based on a true story, aka is definitely worth a watch.
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