7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Having never heard of this small picture, I was curious to check out "A Different Loyalty." Based on a true story, and starring Sharon Stone and Rupert Everett--"Loyalty" aims to tell the story of one of the most successful British spies working for the Soviets. Everett plays this agent, who helped to steal nuclear secrets from the Americans among other deeds. Facing exposure, he must turn his back on an idyllic family life and flee to Russia to live out his days.
There are moderate successes within "Loyalty" which wants to be a Cold War thriller, of sorts, but mainly thanks to Everett. His performance is a thoughtful one, and he and Stone make a credible pair. Their courtship and family life are well played and interesting. When he goes missing, however, Stone must start facing the truths about her husband.
There is a tremendous, morally complicated story to be told here--unfortunately, "A Different Loyalty" isn't quite the picture that it should have been. First of all, Everett's espionage is discussed only in superficial terms. We never see him as anything other than a somewhat sympathetic family man--not a major player in international politics. And if Stone has any actual thoughts about his betrayal to England, they are never shown. We are left with Stone's personal betrayal and wanting to bring her family back together--but not once does she question whether her husband might be a villain. What could have been a devastating treatise on love and loyalty devolves into a mundane relationship drama. The implications of Everett's actions never have an actual impact on Stone, and that's the film's ultimate undoing. If Stone doesn't try to comprehend what her husband has done, why should we? And since "Loyalty" doesn't give us much actual information to work with--it falls flat as a story we can care about.
Decent performances, but a lack of insight or fully realized potential, make this a watchable but forgettable endeavor. KGHarris, 11/06.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
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I found this a fascinating movie. It's based, of course, on the real life events of the Cambridge spies, particularly the most famous of them, Kim Philby. For some reason, they changed all the names of the spies in the movie. I don't know why they changed the names; I thought it would have been more effective if they had not.
Anyway, the film focuses on the life of Philby (a different name in the movie) and the wife he marries in Beirut. Philby famously left MI5 and took up the job of a journalist in Beirut from which position he presumably continued his work for the KGB. Upon discovering that he was about to be outted, he fled for Moscow, leaving his ignorant wife in the lurch. She at first was in denial, then travelled to Moscow and discovered the truth about her husband. In the end she separates from him, even though still being in love.
The movie portrays most Americans as boors of course. Philby is portrayed mostly sympathetically throughout despite his traitourous activities in real life (passing nuclear secrets to the Reds thereby prolonging the Cold War). However, I found the pace of the movie and the depth of character portrayal quite engrossing. Glad to have stumbled across it.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Based in part on the lives of Eleanor Philby and British spy Kim Philby (1912-1988), "A Different Loyalty" is an odd and partially successful mixture of spy novel, history, and romance.
Rupert Everett plays Leo Cauffiled (the metaphor for Kim Philby, who was said to be among the most successful double agents of the Cold War) and Stone plays wife Sally. The story begins in Beirut where the pair meet, romance, Sally divorces her diplomat husband, and the pair marry. They enjoy happiness until Leo defects.
When Sally discovers Leo has been a double agent working for the Russians, she ignores the advice of American authorities and joins him in Moscow. The film takes mostly dark and ill turns afterward, and the ending is neither preidctable, satisfying, nor pleasant. The postlude indicates Leo stayed a Soviet until his death in 1988.
This movie is a lot like a made for TV flick in its first hour. Many of the events played out over time -- such as Sally's attraction to Leo and her subsequent affair with him, then leaving her husband to marry him -- transpire in only 1-2 scenes of only a couple minutes' duration. This is one of the film's great weaknesses -- its superficial presentation of the lives of its main subjects.
The great strength in Stone's multidimensional performance as wife, sexpot, mistress, mother, ex-wife, searcher, and household beacon. She is completely credible in every role and creates empathy for her tortured persona as she first searches for her wayward husband, then finds him, then is tormented by his decision to choose Communism over wife, family, freedom and Western material largess.
The movie was filmed in New York, London, Montreal, Moscow and Malta, a Meditteranes nation off Sicily that must have been the site for the scenes in Beirut. There is no question that -- while the cinematography could easily have been more widescale and enjoyable -- the scenes in Malta and Moscow were particularly fine. The site filming added authenticity to the overall project.
Still, there are enough holes in the plot and superficiality to the story to keep this from being in the top rank. It is above average for its colluded storyline and Stone's wonderful performance. Anyone that likes spy films or romance will enjoy "A Different Loyalty".
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
F. S. L'hoir
- Published on Amazon.com
"A Different Loyalty" may have been well intentioned, but it disappoints on two levels. For those who do not know that the plot has been lifted (without attribution) from Eleanor Philby's memoir, "The Spy I Married," it is a rather humdrum, albeit entertaining and well-acted, romance with an espionage background (although I seem to have missed the dead bodies referred to by one of the reviewers; and the DVD cover is egregiously misrepresentative, depicting the main character [played by Rupert Everett], gun in hand, running from an exploding truck and hovering helicopters--something that Kim Philby [the ultimate bureaucrat] never did in his life [and, unless it has been cut from the movie, neither did Everett.]). For those who do know the historical background, the film is infuriating. Even though the names of Philby, Burgess, and Maclean, et al, have been inexplicably changed (after 40-plus years), the script follows Eleanor's account carefully, making numerous allusions to actual events in Philby's life and career; towards the end, however, it suddenly veers off into fantasy land as the wife, Sally (the Eleanor surrogate), with the connivance of British Intelligence, tries to persuade her husband, Leo (the Kim Philby avatar), to return to London to testify (probably the last thing that the British government wanted at the time).
The film, nevertheless, is lovely to look at, with the photogenic island of Malta standing in for Beirut of the 1960s, and the surprisingly photogenic city of Moscow standing in for itself. The acting is more than creditable; the children are especially good, as is the smarmy double-dealing SIS agent. Sharon Stone, who, with dark hair, bears a remarkable resemblance to Eleanor Philby, is believable. I was, however, left rather cold by Rupert Everett in the role of the hero (or anti-hero), even though I thought he was brilliant in "Another Country" as the arrogantly handsome Guy Bennett (read Burgess). With his perpetual well-bred sneer, Everett simply does not exude the infamous Philby charm!
- Published on Amazon.com
An interesting but very superficial bit of historical fiction. It is based on Eleanor Philby's memoir of marrying the infamous Soviet-British double agent, Kim Philby while the two are both based in Beirut in 1963. It touches on some important themes like the sophomoric attraction of communism to school boys and others unwilling to scratch below the surface of Marx's appeal to the gullible, but fails to fully develop these ideas.
Rupert Everett plays Leo Caufield, the Kim Philby avatar, and Sharon Stone his wife, Sally, the Eleanor Philby analog. Leo has quit British MI5 and works for the London Times on assignment in Beirut. In one scene, Leo's friend, Andy, assigned by MI5 to keep track of him in Beirut, tells him "Communism is like acne; it's something you're supposed to outgrow," but this theme never gets fully developed. Later, in Moscow, Leo tells Sally Marxism would work if there was just a better class of men to put it into action. Sally earlier asks Leo, pointing to all the hardship around them in Moscow, "Is this what you gave up your family for?" She eventually leaves him to his adolescent dreams and returns to her daughter and Leo's kids, from his prior marriage, living back in the States.
Stone and Everett's acting are both superb, but they are unable to rise above the ambivalent writing. The script writers cannot seem to let go of their own sophomoric fascination with the communist fantasy to develop a full-blown critique of its destructive influence on human history. George Orwell did a much better job of this.
Philby's treason cost the lives, directly and indirectly, of thousands, maybe millions, of people all over the globe who were destroyed by the Communist juggernaut, not to mention the hardship visited on his own family. Yet, the Americans working in the CIA to contain the menace are depicted as thugs, no better than the Communists. This is at odds with my own experience working with a number of fine, patriotic men from the intelligence community.
Overall it's an enjoyable film. Given what we now know today, however, about the historical and geopolitical consequences of Philby's treason, it could have been so much more.