Weekend

Film

Drama

WEEKEND_1.jpg_cmyk.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Nov 1 2011

Andrew Haigh’s 2009 film ‘Greek Pete’ wasn’t the sort of directing debut you’d automatically expect from someone whose CV largely comprised editing work on studio pictures such as ‘Shanghai Knights’ and ‘Hannibal Rising’. Its story of contemporary London rent boys – their charm and sex lives, their fraught relationships, their attempts to make it big – fell somewhere between documentary and drama, drawing on reality without wholly forsaking the tools of fiction.

With ‘Weekend’, Haigh builds tremendously on his debut’s intriguing if frustrating promise. His new film is an engaging and moving romance with its head screwed on and, like its predecessor, a film that mines digital video’s peculiar tendency to blur lines between performative registers; the characters in ‘Weekend’ might not acknowledge the camera as those in ‘Greek Pete’ did, but they do probe the idea of the self as an act of performance.

The story is set in a mid-sized town, unnamed in the film, and takes place over a 48-hour period. Easygoing, open-hearted lifeguard Russell (Tom Cullen) meets outspoken, sharp-tongued Glen (Chris New), an aspiring artist, at a club on a Friday night. Over the following couple of days, they hang out, talk, have sex, eat, party and possibly fall in love. More or less a two-hander shot in chronological sequence, the result is an elegant and affecting miniature, the slow-burning intensity of its central relationship expressed through potent performances and marshalled through smart framing and lean editing. The chemistry between Cullen and New is made credible not only through intimacy and humour but also curiosity and frustration. Haigh’s filmmaking, meanwhile, demonstrates an editor’s sense of economy and pace but also faith in long takes and moments of quiet.

For all its humour, this is not exactly meet-cute territory: Russell and Glen spend as much time mulling normative behaviour and social conventions as making goo-goo eyes. Serious without being solemn, their encounter prompts questions about the pay-off between gay rights and queer questioning – broadly, assimilation and its discontents. There’s a shrewd sense here of the personal and intellectual challenges facing a generation that grew up after Section 28 – perhaps after ‘Queer as Folk’ – with basic battles for legal recognition won but more insidious forms of alienation very much alive. But the film is of more than niche appeal; sexy, provocative, engrossing and occasionally ornery, it should appeal to anyone whose curiosity about someone new has provoked them to question their own identity.
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Cast and crew

Director:

Andrew Haigh

Cast:

Tom Cullen, Chris New

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LiveReviews|17
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emjayay

Great comments above. I just saw this film, and I know exactly what everyone who both criticised and complimented it were talking about. It's kind of a smaller film than some reviews seem to make it. As a review on another site observed, there is a similarily to American mumblecore. Anyway...I justt want to know more about these characters. How did Russel end up in that high rise cheapo maybe council housing? How did those high rises get built in a typical English semidetached suburb? Was that horrible torn wallpaper there when he moved in? How far did Russel get in school, and why? Why does he boil water on the stove and not in a plug in kettle like every other Brit, and what's up with the instant coffee? And Glenn....what's the gallery he works in like? What kind of degree does he have, from where? If he's going to Portand to teach, he must have some credentials. And that's why I really like this film.

Sudesh

Best gay themed film since Beautiful Thing and Brokeback Mountain. Well-act, well-written and well-cinematographed. Winner all the way.

Sudesh

Best gay themed film since Beautiful Thing and Brokeback Mountain. Well-act, well-written and well-cinematographed. Winner all the way.

Phil Ince

Saw this again and admired it more; the positions seem reversed by the end of the film. Acid, cocky Glen has drawn Russell out into the world but Glen ends seeming something of a shambles of a man - on the run, confounded. Still think there are some moments in the middle which seem a little characterless/don't fit. The little tiff in the small hours Sunday scenes doesn't come off. But Russell's growth of strength in the farewell is moving. We could have (and I'd liked to have) found out more about these two than we did; the maintenance of a low key means the film does sometimes mumble(?). But it's humane and shows/offers more thought than I saw first time.

Rob

A really wonderful little film, brilliantly written, acted and shot. It tells a great deal about modern life, with themes that are both specific to gay people and others that are universal. I found it particularly refreshing to see a film set in a relatively small town like Nottingham and showing gay characters who aren't well-off, vapid consumption machines in highly paid yet meaningless jobs like advertising living in luxury apartments. The two main characters are incredibly well played, subtly crafted and their experiences are thoroughly believable. One of the best 'gay' films I've seen ever. Highly recommended to movie lovers gay or otherwise.

Rob

A really wonderful little film, brilliantly written, acted and shot. It tells a great deal about modern life, with themes that are both specific to gay people and others that are universal. I found it particularly refreshing to see a film set in a relatively small town like Nottingham and showing gay characters who aren't well-off, vapid consumption machines in highly paid yet meaningless jobs like advertising living in luxury apartments. The two main characters are incredibly well played, subtly crafted and their experiences are thoroughly believable. One of the best 'gay' films I've seen ever. Highly recommended to movie lovers gay or otherwise.

Dominic

I enjoyed the development of the characters in the movie and found both leads to be quite likeable. Set in Nottingham, it reminded me of how different it is to London life (rampant homophobia) and yet in many ways the same (abundant and easy drug taking). Worth seeing for sure, but I felt it lagged in some places and I was disappointed that the tissues I took (forewarned as I was) didn't get used. Maybe I am a hard hearted cynic despite my self perception otherwise.

Joshua Kyle

A wonderful heartfelt drama - you'd have to be a NUMPTY not to see this. This film isn't playing at my local cinema, sadly. I would love to see a wider UK release for the film, as do many others I've spoken with.

Joshua Kyle

A wonderful heartfelt drama - you'd have to be a NUMPTY not to see this. This film isn't playing at my local cinema, sadly. I would love to see a wider UK release for the film, as do many others I've spoken with.

Sally

also saw this at the LFF. Such a WONDERFUL film. completely agree with Jayne, it is beyond sexuality, as the emotions in the film is universal, it got me and my girlfriend all teary but also exhilarated strangely. i didn't really know what to expect but it just seduced us completely. A MUST SEE,

Sally

also saw this at the LFF. Such a WONDERFUL film. completely agree with Jayne, it is beyond sexuality, as the emotions in the film is universal, it got me and my girlfriend all teary but also exhilarated strangely. i didn't really know what to expect but it just seduced us completely. A MUST SEE,

Jayne

Saw this at London Film Festival. As a straight woman (I went with my gay male friend) I fell in love with this, wasn't expecting to. Doesn't matter what gender or sexuality you are, you'll be touched and feel all the better for it. Came out roses!

Jayne

Saw this at London Film Festival. As a straight woman (I went with my gay male friend) I fell in love with this, wasn't expecting to. Doesn't matter what gender or sexuality you are, you'll be touched and feel all the better for it. Came out roses!