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A poignant, authentic masterpiece.
on 21 April 2012
You can't watch this film without feeling something. The script consists of sincere interactions, natural small talk and realistic arguments. It made me think about aspects of my own life. Parts of my past, feelings I've had about friends, lovers, my parents, and what these relationships mean to me. It even made me think about my future.
Weekend isn't just another gay movie. It's not distasteful or stereotypical. It's delicate. It's amusing. And my word, it makes you think. The "love" story, if that's how you want to put it, is sewn neatly into that raw, British reality. Altercations between characters remind me of ones I've had myself - petty, circular and genuine. Authentic characters are placed into familiar situations. I lost count of the times I felt a sense of déjà vu, a deep understanding of the context, or even recognition of myself in one of the characters. I even recognised my friends in others. It might just be me, but aspects of this film seem to describe life experiences that we've all been through; gay or straight.
This film picks up on something that might ordinarily go unnoticed. It cultivates the idea that something strong can burst from a chance encounter with someone you meet in a bar. This scenario must happen more often than realised. It happens every day, but so many just pass it off as a myth. The idea that such a bond could be formed over a single weekend may seem farfetched to some, but I believe the actors capably portray the honesty of what these characters create.
So much about the film's production mutters authenticity. It lets you witness each of Glen and Russell's encounters as if you were there. Camera angles range from incredibly distant to up close and personal. You could be placed across the street from the couple, or as a passenger on their tram. Next thing you know you're in bed with them. At one moment, surrounding bystanders cross in front of the shot, concealing the pair entirely. This technique allows the audience to immerse themselves in the characters' world, as if to eavesdrop on their conversation.
The only real criticism I have is related to the excessive use of drugs throughout the film. While it's perfectly realistic to have characters taking lines and shooting up, here I felt that it didn't fit with the personalities involved.
Russell is played by Tom Cullen, who admirably utilises body language, tone of voice and eye gaze to successfully pinpoint the character's insecurities. Although openly gay, it is evident that Russell is yet to be totally comfortable with his sexuality. Glen (Chris New) provides Russell with stepping stones toward this personal development, and it truly is endearing to watch.
Bedroom scenes aren't just used for sex. Although these are natural and incredibly sensual, the morning after does well to hold attention. These scenes frequently display romantic affection and touching exchanges, in spite of the disagreements and platonic ambience we see in a majority of the film.
If you feel like the trailer alone stirs the heart, wait `til you see the full thing. By the end, you're left with a churned barrel of emotions, aching to be told the rest of the story. In a way, this indecisive ending, severed by something rusty and serrated, is an ideal way to complete the film. There's no tidy bow to connect loose ends, no lid to put it all away. The lives of those involved are left open and unforeseeable.
It leaves you wanting more.
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