MFR Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Weekend is a wonderful little snapshot of cinema. Emotive and poignant and beautifully understated. It’s essentially two people talking – but these two people have an abundance of character and deep emotional problems that take a while to unravel but instantly feel genuine.
In one way Weekend is a typical tale of a one night stand leading to the more complicated issue of a possible romance. The film takes place over a mere weekend and you can feel the time ticking by. Russell (Tom Cullen) meets Glen (Chris New) in a gay bar and despite thinking he was out of his league, finds him home in his bed the next morning. Aside from their meeting and the practical impossibility of any relationship which is later explained, that’s about all there is in way of plot. It’s a completely character driven film, exploring emotion and sexuality to a degree so rarely seen in the cinema. But it works on screen due to the depth of characters which makes it feel remarkably alive.
Weekend was shot in Nottingham but despite the plethora of recognisable locations (include one minute from my house and the road of the cinema I was in), I never felt taken out of the film which is a real credit to the performances of Tom Cullen and Chris New, who are both new faces who give incredibly tender performances of characters instantly recognisable. Russell is a more introverted character, whilst Glen tries to make Russell understand the importance of being open about himself. Their lust and romance is really delicately drawn, it never feels like love at first sight, they’re just two people who got drunk and slept together and find themselves in each other’s company afterwards. The romance is bittersweet and the relationship feels completely authentic.
There’s a strong subtext exploring why it’s OK for straight people to express themselves crudely and openly in public but gay people feel too ashamed besides cheap innuendo. Although it’s a character film, it raises a lot of strong issues about society. At one point Glen mentions the power of fiction, constantly telling stories of straight relationships and afraid to give more than cursory focus on gay relationships. Sure, it’s self aware but it also makes some utterly valid points. One of the few things I didn’t quite understand was all the focus on drug use, which didn’t particularity seem to go anywhere. It certainly doesn’t pull any punches in regards to sex and why should it?
Weekend a great film, devoid of cliché but packed with affection. I really hope it does well.
Weekend is out now in the UK. Running time: 97 mins.
Comments and feedback are always welcome or just give the film a rating by using the stars at the top.
Review by David Rank