This film provides a dramatically succinct biography of English playwright Joe Orton and an eye-opening glimpse of the gay lifestyle in London during the late 1960s. Gary Oldman’s performance as the charming, subversive, and brazenly promiscuous Orton is a wonder to behold. Alfred Molina’s depiction of his lover Kenneth Halliwell is a study in loneliness and self-hate. His frustration at living in the shadow of Orton’s success led him to bludgeon his roommate to death in 1967 and then commit suicide. Director Stephen Frears and screenplay writer Alan Bennett are to be commended for the brilliant and fluid way in which they tell the story of Orton’s life and death. Praise must also go to Vanessa Redgrave for her sly and silky performance as Orton’s theatrical agent.