Earnest and understated, "Weekend" has the intimate look and feel of a two-character stage play that has been opened up.

With: Tom Cullen, Chris New, Jonathan Race, Laura Freeman, Jonathan Wright, Loretto Murray.

Earnest and understated, “Weekend” has the intimate look and feel of a two-character stage play that has been opened up — but only slightly, with minimal addition of supporting players — for a mostly faithful filmization. Winner of the audience award in the Emerging Visions category at the SXSW Film Festival, this Brit-produced drama is modest in scope and ambition. With critical support and sensitive marketing, however, it could score respectable theatrical biz as a date movie for gay couples before attracting more viewers as VOD, cable and homevid fare.

A vet assistant editor whose resume includes collaborations with Ridley Scott (“Black Hawk Down”) and Harmony Korine (“Mister Lonely”), writer-director Andrew Haigh maintains a semi-improvisational tone while focusing on the wary relationship between two young men in Nottingham who may or may not want to develop a one-night stand into something more substantial.

Russell (Tom Cullen), an affable introvert who works as a lifeguard at a public swimming pool, caps off a Friday night of heavy drinking and hopeful cruising by picking up Glen (Chris New), an uninhibited, randy, art gallery employee. During an extended stretch of morning-after repartee, however, Glen alternately discomfits and excites Russell while brandishing a tape recorder and asking detailed questions about what they did and didn’t do in the heat of the moment the night before.

Glen claims the interrogation is for an upcoming art project devoted to gay sexuality. Fairly soon, though, it’s obvious that Glen isn’t clinically detached as much as he is determinedly noncommittal. He announces early on that, late Sunday afternoon, he’ll be leaving Nottingham for an extended stay in the U.S. Still, that gives the two men more than enough time to become increasingly close while sharing drugs, swapping secrets, having sex — and extensively conversing.

Cullen and New develop a compellingly credible give and take, whether they’re debating the merits of gay marriage, confiding long-suppressed yearnings or, in the pic’s funniest scene, discussing the homoerotic appeal of Rupert Graves in “A Room With a View.” There’s an admirably matter-of-fact quality to the spirited coupling of their characters near the end of the pic, for which the actors and their director deserve considerable credit.

Tech values are more than adequate.

Popular on Variety



Production: A Sundance Selects (in U.S.) release of a Glendale Picture Co. production in association with the Bureau Film Co., Synchronicity Films and EM Media. Produced by Tristan Goligher. Executive producers, Anna Seifert-Speck, Suzanne Alizart. Co-producer, Clare Mundell. Directed, written, edited by Andrew Haigh.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Ula Pontikos; music, James Edward Baker; production designer, Sarah Finlay; art director, Lorna Dunn; sound, Tim Barker; casting, Kahleen Crawford. Reviewed on DVD, Austin, March 17, 2011. (In SXSW Film Festival -- Emerging Visions.) Running time: 96 MIN.

With: With: Tom Cullen, Chris New, Jonathan Race, Laura Freeman, Jonathan Wright, Loretto Murray.

More Film

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Racks Up Solid $33 Million Debut, 'Goldfinch' Bombs

    “Hustlers” rolled in the Benjamins this weekend, collecting $33.2 million when it debuted in 3,250 North American theaters. Boosted by rave reviews and stellar word of mouth, “Hustlers” beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for an STX film, along with the biggest live-action opening weekend for stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. [...]

  • German Cinema Is Diverse, But Is

    German Cinema Is Varied, But Is It Too Risk Averse?

    One of the strengths of German cinema is its diversity, says Simone Baumann, managing director of the national film promotion agency German Films. As well as the three films at Toronto directed by female German helmers, there was also German filmmaker Thomas Heise’s documentary film essay “Heimat Is a Space in Time.” Then there were [...]

  • Female Filmmakers in Germany Make Progress

    Female Filmmakers Surge Forward in Germany, But Still Face Obstacles

    Four feature films by German filmmakers screened at the Toronto Film Festival, and three of them were directed by women – Angela Schanelec’s “I Was at Home, But…,” winner of the Berlinale’s best director prize, Ina Weisse’s “The Audition,” and Katrin Gebbe’s “Pelican Blood,” the latter two both starring Nina Hoss. Germany’s Oscar entry this [...]

  • Bull

    Annie Silverstein's 'Bull' Takes Top Awards, Robert Pattinson Starrer 'The Lighthouse' Wins Jury Prize at Deauville

    Annie Silverstein’s feature debut “Bull” swept three awards at the 45th Deauville American Film Festival, including the Grand Prize, the Revelation Prize for best first film and the Critics’ Prize. “Bull,” a portrait of a rebellious teenage girl from South Texas, world premiered at Cannes’s Un Certain Regard and marks Silverstein’s follow up to her [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Jennifer Lopez's 'Criminal' Striptease: How 'Hustlers' Landed the Fiona Apple Hit

    Contrary to what you might be expecting, the number of songs by Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo and Cardi B in “Hustlers,” their newly released acting vehicle, adds up to … zero. Meanwhile, the standout music sync in a movie that’s full of them belongs to no less likely a choice than Fiona Apple. The scene in [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers' Win Big at 45th Annual Saturn Awards

    As Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her first trophy ever at the 45th Annual Saturn Awards Friday night, she had a good luck charm on her arm: former manager Chuck Binder, whom she said was the reason she became an actor. “I was in college and had no thought of being an actor,” Curtis told [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content