Sunday, October 16, 2011

Review: Weekend (2011)

Two guys, one a reserved semi-out-of-the-closet lifeguard and another an outspoken restless artist, meet in a bar one night and proceed to spend a weekend together filled with deep conversations, intense connections, and self-realizations. Sex, drugs, and alcohol are in the mix, but aren't they always?

Above is the synopsis of the British film Weekend written and directed by Andrew Haigh which has been making the festival rounds here in America the past few months and had its official release a month ago. It made its British debut this weekend at the London Film Fest. I saw it last weekend and have not been able to stop thinking about not just how it is most definitely one of my favorite films of the year, but also how it's one of the most romantic films I've seen ever.

The fact that the film only takes place in such a narrow time-frame, over the course of a weekend, and mostly features two guys just talking to each other, never make the film feel rushed or claustrophobic. It actually feels just the opposite courtesy of Haigh's confident direction and his elegantly efficient script where the actors and their words are allowed to breathe in their spaces. The two leads played by Tom Cullen and Chris New are wonderful together and their chemistry with one another has a lot to do with why the film works as well as it does. Even with playing two characters that in the surface probably shouldn't match up well, their openness and intimacy make the ensuing deepening of their relationship as the film progresses believable and heartwarming.

My favorite parts of the film are all of the parts that reminded me of one of my favorite films of all time, Before Sunrise wherein two young people also meet up and spend a short amount of time with each other talking about various topics and forming a deep connection. It's clear that Haigh was influenced by Richard Linklater's work on that film, but he also managed to make a film that fits just perfectly for our time especially in regards to gays and their identities. Overall, the film hits all of the emotional beats out of the park especially the ending which was at once expected, poignant, and leaving you wanting for more. A/A-

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