Prick Up Your Ears (2004) In this wry and occasionally glum biopic, British playwright Joe Orton (Gary Oldman) cracks jokes at his mother's funeral and then cruises an undertaker. Adapted…
DVD Review

Prick Up Your Ears (2004)

EW's GRADE
B-

Details Release Date: Jun 15, 2004; DVD Release Date: Jun 15, 2004; Movie Rated: R; Genres: Drama, Gay and Lesbian; With: Alfred Molina, Gary Oldman and Vanessa Redgrave

In this wry and occasionally glum biopic, British playwright Joe Orton (Gary Oldman) cracks jokes at his mother's funeral and then cruises an undertaker. Adapted from John Lahr's biography, Stephen Frears' film, Prick Up Your Ears, goes a long way toward explaining why, at the height of his fame, Orton was beaten to death by Kenneth Halliwell (Alfred Molina), a frustrated artist who viewed himself, romantically and professionally, as Orton's uncredited partner. What it doesn't reflect is the anarchic wit behind Orton's plays ''Loot'' and ''What the Butler Saw'' -- although he and Halliwell do have a madcap moment consummating their relationship while the Queen's coronation plays on TV. As Orton's literary agent and self-appointed ''widow,'' Vanessa Redgrave breathes air into every room she enters. The rest of the movie -- dragged down by visual murk and a portentous score -- could use her swinging-London insouciance. The only EXTRA is a theatrical trailer.

Originally posted Jul 09, 2004 Published in issue #773 Jul 09, 2004 Order article reprints