We’re not sure why this is our first ever cinema-related post – after all, we love nothing more than a night at the movies, mostly at the tres chic Belsize Park Everyman.
Anyway, we were so moved by the new Brit indieflick Weekend, directed by Andrew Haigh, that, upon leaving the Odeon Covent Garden, we simply couldn’t not pick up a pen. And if you want a local angle, it’s this: Everyman Belsize & Hampstead, Odeon Camden Town – programme this film immediately!
On the surface it’s a seemingly slight tale of boy-meets-boy over a grey weekend in Nottingham. The skies are thick with cloud, the city is presented ambiguously (by turns seductive and tired), and the mood one of cheap thrills mixed with social obligation. Throughout, the new acquaintances drink, take drugs, have sex, and reflect on their lives.
But how does this film, shot on handheld camera, transcend such a potentially well-worn story line? Much is down to the juxtaposition of its two young leads: Russell (Tom Cullen) is introspective, unambitious, quiet, whilst Glen (Chris New) is a mouthy wannabe artist, full of ideas, some half-baked. Their attraction is obvious without being sentimental or overplayed; we can read the story in its quiet pauses, their subtle expressions, the use of music. Glen propounds the political, whilst Russell, an orphan, leans more towards romance, preferring his sexuality to be as private as he needs it to be. And beyond the towerblock the wider world is still infested with the threat of homophobia (there’s no actual violence here, just a disconcerting mewl of wolf whistles and name-calling).
Grand Themes unfurl slowly, unobtrusively. What is identity? What does it mean to fall in love? Why are friends rarely enough? Why always the need to escape (from questions, from the quotidian, from sobriety)? Yet the film is canny enough not to offer ready answers. Whatever your sexuality is, it really is that rare thing – a movie that lingers in the mind for days after, its themes and ideas brewing, strengthening. And its ending will make you cry.
Yes, the critics have raved justifiably, but on its opening weekend it was the second biggest grossing film per screen (after Tintin). So shame on our local picturehouses for apparently passing on such a quality production (do correct us if we’re wrong). But you can still go into town and see it here. You can find out more here.
Words: Stephen Emms