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To Die For Review

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Simon and Mark live together in London. When Mark dies of AIDS, Simon gets on with his life rather quickly

★★★★★

Avoiding the gritty realism that inevitably seems to consign most low-budget British movies to the worthy-but-dull status, this tackles a serious subject matter — AIDS — through the unusual perspective of a ghost story.
Simon (Arklie) divides his time between picking up one-night stands at gay clubs and a stormy home-life with his pub drag queen lover Mark (Williams). No sooner has Mark died of AIDS, however, than Simon is bringing a pick-up back to their flat, but a mysterious combination of doors locked from the inside and the car alarm going off for no apparent reason, persuades his new-found object of desire to skedaddle pretty quickly. Simon then begins to hear Mark’s voice on his answering machine and crooning on the radio, before his undead lover materialises to force Simon to face-up to his feelings of bereavement before he can properly pass into the hereafter.
Beyond the two competent leads, the rest of the cast — which includes Dillie Keane as Siobhan, Simon’s upstairs neighbour, Slattery as her boyfriend Terry, and Altman as Simon’s laddish, fiercely anti-gay workmate Dogger — are mildly amusing, but seem more like exiles from TV sitcomland. Dedicated by director Litten to a close friend who died of AIDS, his unusual movie is to be commended for wearing its heart so openly on its sleeve while remaining accessible to a mainstream audience. Even if it doesn’t exactly reach the dizzying heights of Truly Madly Deeply it still comes across as far more intelligent than Ghost.

Awkward but amiable