Director: Andrew Haigh
Screenwriter: Andrew Haigh
Runtime: 98 mins
Australian release date: 26 January 2012
Previewed at: Reel Room, Sydney, 24 January 2012..
The director Andrew Haigh (who also wrote and edited this film) worked for many years as an editor, cutting a diverse slate of films such as Gladiator and Mister Lonely. Weekend is his second feature, his first being Greek Pete (2009), which screened at both the Melbourne Queer Film Festival and the Mardi Gras Film Festival in 2010. It is interesting to note that Haigh was named one of Screen International’s ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ in 2008, so he has been on the radar for a while and that attention is not surprising judging by this latest effort.
Weekend is a story of two young gay men falling for each other after a one-night stand. It covers issues dealing with sexuality, ‘coming out’ and the struggles we all face in forming new relationships, regardless of sexuality. The script delves right into issues of authenticity and self-definition and how two people, navigating their lives in very different ways, are really searching for a place in the world where they will be accepted for who they are, not ‘what’ they are.
Set in Nottingham, England, most of the scenes are shot in the interior of a council high rise. It is a homely dwelling, nicely decorated with retro goods. You spend a lot of time in the flat and it is the closeness of the surroundings which helps to develop the intimacy between the two main characters. The performances by Russell (Tom Cullen) and Glen (Chris New) are outstanding. Both actors remain low-key and you are drawn into their brief, yet intense affair, which is nakedly truthful and full of genuine emotion.
If you are looking for a quiet and yet compelling drama, which has an intelligent script, a terrific cast and a sort of feel-good quality, then go along and see this film. You get the feeling that you are watching one of the new British directors and one waits in anticipation for Haigh’s next feature.