Sunday, October 23, 2011

Weekend Provides an Intimate look that makes the Viewer feel like a an Intruder into their a Good Way!

Weekend (4 out 5 stars)
Directed and Written by: Andrew Haigh
Starring: Tom Cullen and Chris New

Russell (Tom Cullen) goes to his friends dinner party one night and after is asked to do something with his friends, but he declines claiming he has to get to work early in the morning.  Russell goes to a gay bar instead of going home in part because he does not feel comfortable letting his straight friends into this part of his world.  While at the bar Russell eyes Glen (Chris New) from across the bar follows him into the bathroom looks down at him as he pees, but while at the bar is rebuffed by him.  Soon we see Russell being kissed by this other guy.  Soon after its morning and Russell is making coffee, and as he opens the door to Glen.

Director and Writer Andrew Haigh does a brilliant job constructing a three dimensional story about two gay men who meet fall in "like" and spend the weekend together.  Haigh's screenplay is strong and self assured; he knows his characters well, and his dialogue is realistic.  Haigh worked on the editorial teams of the films Black Hawk Down and Gladiator so this intimate film style is different from those films, and I almost felt as though I was an intruder during some of the most intimate moments of some one's relationship.  Haigh uses a gritty realistic handheld camera to tell the story of these two men, and it works to shape and capture the every emotion, every gesture, every glance, and its powerful.  

Cullen and New had their big screen debut in this film and they were both incredibly charismatic.  Their delivery of dialogue was not forced or seem disingenuous like many other actors do in roles like these.  I do not know either actor's sexual orientation, but they were both incredibly convincing while they fell deeper and deeper in "like" with one another.  There is so much intimacy truth and honesty in the paradoxes of being a gay male revealed in this film that have never been shown in film.

This film is not just the same old gay film it has layers and goes deeper into not only the sexual relationship, but the actual relationship between these two people.  There is the cliche that Glen is moving away for two years, which adds a tragic and maybe too much of a predictable twist, but there is so much strength in the screenplay it does not matter.  I have seen a lot of gay films and wrote about them too.  Many of them end tragically because someone is beaten to death or has AIDS or HIV.  There are so few films that are both well written and have good direction like this one.  This is simply a story about two men who are gay and date for the weekend.

I hope Haigh realizes he has talent within this genre and could help propel gay cinema to higher levels.  Although like Glen said in the movie "the problem is no one straight will see it, only the gays will come out."  The sad part is this film will never reach the commercial market to be enough of a success, but with good word of mouth I think this could be one of the best gay films i have ever seen.

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