Weekend

"Extraordinary"

Weekend Review


It's clear to see why this gentle gay romantic drama has been compared to Before Sunrise and Once, as it follows two men over the course of two days. But it's also an extremely well-made film packed with its own sharp observations.

After hanging out with his lively group of friends, Russell (Cullen) sneaks off to a gay nightclub looking for companionship. He meets Glen (New), and it isn't until the next morning that they begin to get to know each other. Their one-night stand then stretches out over a weekend of alcohol, drugs and parties as they both struggle to cope with how quickly they have developed intense feelings toward each other. Which is a problem since Glen is moving away on Sunday.

Shot guerrilla-style on location in Nottingham, the real settings add to the film's bracing tone, as director Haigh stays close to his actors and captures details and conversations we rarely see on screen. Photographed like a documentary, the clever, intimate camerawork and editing highlight the characters' physicality, both between the couple and in Russell's scenes with his best mate (Race) and also an encounter he has with Glen's chatty friend (Freeman).

The strong connection between Russell and Glen is the heart of the film, and Cullen and New create believable, engaging men who continually reveal layers of complexity, from cheeky humour to brittle self-doubt. Aside from a bit too much inebriated messiness, these are two remarkably well-developed characters, and their interaction cycles through scenes that are hilarious, awkward, intense and powerfully emotional.

Along the way, the script touches on rather a lot of big issues as Russell and Glen casually discuss their lives and, most pointedly, their experiences as gay men. So besides being an involving drama, the film has important things to say about being gay in an often hostile straight society. As Russell observes, he never feels particularly gay when he's alone at home; but when people on the streets, or even his friends and family, look at him or treat him differently, it makes him angry, which in turn makes him feel pathetic. Observations like this one make this film essential viewing for much wider audiences than just gay film festivals.



Weekend

Facts and Figures

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Friday 4th November 2011

Box Office USA: $0.5M

Budget: $8 thousand

Distributed by: IFC Films

Production compaines: The Bureau, EM Media, Glendale Picture Company, Synchronicity Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 73 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Andrew Haigh

Producer: Tristan Goligher

Starring: as Russell, as Glen

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