As strange as it may seem, I don’t generally do a lot of research before heading into a film. I like to be surprised and I don’t want to have any kind of expectations. This is what I did with Weekend, and I am glad I did. I am unfamiliar with writer/director Andrew Haigh’s other work, so I really did go into this fresh. What I walked away with was a wonderfully crafted film that was superbly written, directed and acted.
Weekend tells the story of Russell (Tom Cullen), he’s a twenty something who lives alone, has an adopted family and feeling lonely one night he goes out to a bar hoping to find someone. And find someone he does with Glen (Chris New), the pair have a one-night stand and wind up spending the weekend together. This turns into something more for the pair and it is an experience that will have a huge affect on them.
I am sure that premise does not sound unique, and honestly it isn’t. Films that involve the meeting of two people in a short amount of time, and a life changing bond forming aren’t new to cinema. Films like Before Sunrise, Once and Better Than Sex have done this successfully, and therein lies what sets the films up as being unique. Weekend is perhaps one of the best of these kinds; it elevates itself above something that may seem typical. As I have said before in other reviews, just because something isn’t new, doesn’t mean there isn’t a story to be told, and one that is told well. This is a prime example of that; this is in short a wonderful film.
We have two characters; we don’t know too much about them, we know exactly what they show the other person. It works, because that is all we need to know, we are in their positions. These are two characters that are easy to fall for, they are both real and their performances are raw and honest. The chemistry between these two actors is electric, this is not something you can fake, it was real and the film would not have worked without it. The casting was a stroke of genius; the passion between the two really drove the film. The other driving factor was the script; it was such an honestly beautiful one. The dialogue was natural, and whether you be a man or a woman there is some thing extremely relatable about what they did and had to say.
I am sure this fill will be seen as a strong film of gay cinema, and it really is. But you don’t need to view it as such; sure there are certain elements that make it one, but that alone does not need to define the film. The issues that were brought up were natural for these characters, and their conversations were strong and well thought out. It really represented that everyone has issues no matter who you are, and they don’t necessarily need to define you.
I absolutely loved the performances in this film; both men gave extraordinary and brave showings. There was a lot of emotion involved as well as physically showing ones self, I really commend them both. The direction was spot on; the film was gorgeously shot and really did not stop. There isn’t much to flaw with this film, the script was fantastic and from a filmmaking stand point everything was just perfection. This is a film that should be seen, it really stands out from the crowd and is an example of simple yet thought provoking filmmaking.