In a 2001 interview on 60 Minutes II, an unapologetic David Greenglass dramatically revealed that he had lied about his sister Ethel Rosenberg’s involvement in the selling of nuclear secrets to the Soviets. Encouraged to lie by the nefarious Roy Cohn, it was Greenglass’s testimony that helped send Ethel and her husband to the electric chair. These executions helped fuel Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch hunts, a crusade that serves as a backdrop to Marek Kanievska’s banal A Different Loyalty, the story of a man and wife forced to live apart from each other after he’s accused of collaborating with the KGB. Loosely based on the true story of Eleanor Philby and her relationship to her husband Kim Philby—one of the most successful double agents of the Cold War era—Kanievska’s aesthetically parched film doesn’t illuminate the paranoia of the era, but provides Sharon Stone with a handy reel of countless Oscar clips, none better than the moment where she asks Rupert Everett to choose between communism and her tits. From the crazy Arab who breaks into her Beirut apartment to the F.B.I. ogres who use an open window and Ethel Rosenberg as scare tactics, Stone’s ex-pat is subjected to one embarrassment after another over the course of the film. She’s not a communist—all she wants to do is see her husband—but try telling that to the American ghouls in the film. Considering the material’s non-stop hysteria, it’s anyone’s guess why Kanievska decides to play it all so straight. At one point a British dandy accuses Sally’s husband, Leo (Everett), of being a closet case, but the laughs end there. Stone successfully tempers the material’s soapsuds, but her fine performance isn’t enough to save this dry-mouthed melodrama in serious need of a more Sirkian touch.
- Lions Gate Films
- 96 min
- Marek Kanievska
- Jim Piddock
- Sharon Stone, Rupert Everett, Julian Wadham, Michael Cochrane, Ann Lambton, Jim Piddock, Richard McMillan, Mimi Kuzyk, Emily Vancamp, Tamara Hope, Mark Rendall, Damir Andrei, John Bourgeoise
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