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Film Review - Extraordinary Acting In Award-Winning Movie ‘Weekend’

by Henk Harskamp in Films & Books , 02 mei 2012

Friday night – Russell spends an evening with his straight friends and decides to visit a gay bar afterwards. It’s almost closing time when he meets Glen there. Russell takes him home. What was intended as a one-night-stand unexpectedly goes deeper. And thus starts a weekend filled with passion, sex, drugs and long conversations.

The movie “Weekend” was shot in just seventeen days in Nottingham, UK, and has received several awards already.

The story doesn’t deal with the umpteenth coming out, but with the period that follows. They did work with a scenario, but the actors were given ample opportunity to improvise. The scene where Glen and Russell meet was shot on location in a gay bar in Nottingham, with the actual customers.
Director and author of the movie, Andrew Haigh, tells he wanted to make an honest and intimate love story in which excitement but also the fear for something new would come into the story.

To keep things as convenient as possible for the actors, the filming was done in chronology with the storyline. Haigh is still surprised that the movie has won so many awards. He has edited, he says, the movie in his sleeping room while his friend was watching television.

Actor Tom Cullen (Russell) says in an interview; “The collaboration with Chris New (Glen) was a great experience, both of us had no idea to what the story would lead. I have started to really love him, he’s become a friend for life.”

Cullen doesn’t want to elaborate about the fact that he’s straight in “real” life, which he thinks isn’t important. “Straight, gay, or bisexual, the feeling of being in love is the same for everyone.”

Director Haigh also finds it striking that, especially within the gay scene, people can react indignant when the true preference falls short of expectations: “They never require this from an actor who has to play a murderer.” During a Q&A (Question & Answer), for example, someone from the audience shouted that he should have gotten the role and that this straight man had taken the bread out of his mouth, to which Haigh riposted, “You should have done audition!”

In the movie we see how Russell and Glen, in a rather short time, open their minds to each other. It also becomes clear how different they are.

Glen is somewhat more extrovert and seems to be more self-assured in life than the more diffident Russell, who has less need to express his gayness to the outward world. During a parting at the door he doesn’t dare to kiss Glen from fear of the neighbors who’re just leaving their house.

Both guys are seeking, and grapple with questions such as, “Who am I?” and “What’s my place as a gay man in this world.”

Till all hours they discuss a variety of subjects. But they can’t loose any time, because after this weekend Glen “I don’t do goodbyes” leaves for the United States. As easy as was their meeting, as difficult is their parting.

Tom Cullen and Chris New are truly phenomenal in their acting, everything appears so natural that you almost feel like a voyeur when you see them doing things together. The only minus point (for some) could be that your attention gets somewhat distracted when not all the subjects discussed by the guys appeal to you. And yes, for me watching Tom Cullen was a real treat!

From the 5th of April “Weekend” can be seen in Dutch cinemas.

Never say never again.

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In the New Issue of Gay News, 309, May 2017

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