Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Blu-Ray Review - Weekend


2011 was an excellent year for British films with a number of hidden gems that may have passed you by, here is a look at the Blu-Ray release for one such film, Andrew Haigh's Weekend.

It seems almost disrespectful and crass to use the most obvious comparison out there as Weekend is an accomplished film that stands alone but there really is no easier way to explain the storyline than as Before Sunrise meets Brokeback Mountain. Those unfamiliar with Before Sunrise first of all need to go and watch it, it's incredible, but will need to know that the storyline takes a look at the brief romance that develops between two strangers over the course of a very short space of time. Weekend is very similar in this respect apart from the Brokeback Mountain element, which everyone will be aware of even if they haven't seen the film, as both of the characters here are young gay males who strike up a very close friendship after a drunken encounter.

Those who have read my reviews over the past few months here at Front Room Cinema will be well aware that due to my tastes I am more inclined to enjoy horrors and disturbing movies than a romance but I like to think that I can appreciate a good film when I see one regardless of genre. Although Weekend is not a film I would head out of my way to see I was taken aback by how impressive it was for a small budget character study and I have already recommended it to a number of friends. If you have a penchant for Richard Linklater films you will undoubtedly enjoy this dialogue heavy drama that explores the rich tapestry of lives within the gay community.

There are a handful of scenes that I did find a tad too uncomfortable due to their explicit nature, and it was during these moments that I found myself thinking about social acceptance and the controversy surrounding sexuality that still exists in modern society. This is a thought provoking screenplay that does push the bar in terms of what we see on screen but it is always in fitting with the story and everything that has been included in the film is there for a purpose.

Both of the main actors, Tom Cullen and Chris New, are fantastic as Russell and Glen respectively, the two strangers who forge a strong connection and begin to uncover secrets relating to their past. Russell is far more reserved about his sexuality and appears uncomfortable in certain situations whereas Glen is a cocksure individual - no pun intended - who is open and proud when it comes to his interest in men. These contradicting personalities heighten the drama as their different outlooks on life lead to deep conversations which expose their vulnerabilities and make the couple realise they may have found something worth holding on to.

British film-making is going from strength to strength and it is great to see so many new talents emerging; Andrew Haigh showcases the skills of a director far beyond his years and is certainly one to watch out for in the future. His unique and at times provocative vision of the bond that can grow between two males deserves to be seen by a wider audience, trust me, you will be doing yourself a favour if you add this to your watch list.

The people responsible for putting the extras together have been very generous with both the quality and quantity of features and as someone who enjoys watching trailers for other films I was amazed at the amount included on the disc. Here is a full list of the extra features:

Cast and Crew Interview
Quinnford + Scout picture gallery with commentary
Weekend UK Premier at LFF
Interview with Director and Casts
Interview with Director and Producer
English subtitles for the Hard of Hearing

Weekend is a revealing yet remarkably intimate drama that makes no compromises and delivers a powerful storyline that will stay with you for a long time.

7/10



Weekend is out on Blu-Ray and DVD on Monday 19th March courtesy of Peccadillo Pictures