By West Village Bill
Russell, a lifeguard at a community pool, lives in council housing and grew up an orphan. He's out as a gay man to his close friends but isn't comfortable sharing details of his life with anyone, including his best mate, a straight man named Jamie who grew up with him in the same circumstances, in and out of foster homes. Glen, an aspiring artist, wears his queerness on his sleeve and rants about the larger heterosexual world's disgust with or disinterest in gay men's lives. Glen is insistent that he doesn't want a boyfriend; his fag hag, Jill, explains to Russell that Glen was hurt by an ex's serial cheating and dishonesty. In their first speaking scene together, Glen asks Russell to talk into a tape recorder about their sexual encounter the night before, explaining that it's for some vague art project he's working on. Later, Glen learns that Russell has been cataloging his own sexual encounters on his computer.
Both actors are terrific: Tom Cullen plays Russell, and Chris New is Glen.
The movie, written and directed by Andrew Haigh, explores themes of emotional and sexual secrecy and openness among the two protagonists and their social circles that are further conveyed by shots of the U.K.'s ubiquitous security cameras. I found the whole movie to be engaging, but it took Tony a while to get drawn in. He found Weekend to be pretty dull until the emotional intensity between Russell and Glen was leveled up.
Given that Tony and I are an example of opposites attracting, I wasn't surprised to learn after the movie that we had identified with different guys. We had a wonderful discussion on the walk home during which I tried to make the case that the guy I favored grew just as much as the other one as a result of the couple's intense weekend together.
Weekend is currently playing at the IFC Center and Chelsea Cinemas in Manhattan and at IndieScreen Cinema in Brooklyn.
*For example, the headline on Gawker's review: "The Best Damn Romantic Movie in a Long Time." And QNY blogger Patrick's sweetie, Bill G., highly recommended the movie when I saw him a week ago Sunday at our mutual friend Mark's word game party.
**I don't see that fact as a spoiler. It's conveyed in the movie's trailer, which can be seen at the Gawker link.
Photo by Quinnford & Scout, at weekend-film.com/stills.