I used The Big Gay Blog Collab of 2015 as my excuse to finally sit down and watch it. This Brit Flick has been highly praised and that’s all I’m going to say about that until the end. Do I agree that it’s fucking fabulous? You’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you?
As with all things, watch out for those *spoilers*, fam.
IMDB Synopsis: After a drunken house party with his straight mates, Russell heads out to a gay club. Just before closing time he picks up Glen but what’s expected to be just a one-night stand becomes something else, something special.
I’ll just get my first observation out of the way before I crack on. It’s a shallow one: Tom Cullen in an extremely attractive man. He’s popped up on my radar recently with The Trials of Jimmy Rose (TV Series – 2015), which I’ll probably not get round to, unless they pop it on Netflix.
He’s also Downton Abbey alumni so I understand, not that I’m into that either. But anyway, I like his face and I’m not against seeing it more. Much more.
Weekend begins with lots of long and lingering shots of Cullen’s face, which seems very sad. There’s a innate sorrow to the character of Russell, if that’s the right word. He’s pensive, distant – just plain melancholy somehow. He’s at dinner with a large group of mates and then he’s off early, alone in club, dancing in the spotlight with himself.
This scene is so poignant, so touching – he has his eye on someone and his hope is palpable. It’s a lonely place at the best of times, The Club. The idea of flying solo is a brave one to me.
Next morning Russell wakes up next to Glen, his first choice from the night before. Glen asks Russell to talk to him about his first impressions of him. He holds a Dictaphone in hand, part of an art project, he says. Russell is a little reserved but he plays along as they discuss how Russell had thought Glen out of his league. They talk about sex but it’s clear Russell isn’t comfortable. Glen suspects he’s not ‘out’, but he says he is.
They exchange numbers and meet up later that day, after Russell finishes work. It’s all very much getting to know you stuff. Glen explains more about his art project and they talk about art, travel. Russell opens up about why he hasn’t come out to his parents; he doesn’t have any but grew up in a series of foster homes.
This brings the boys closer together and they hook up again. As Glen’s leaving he drops the bombshell that he’s moving to Portland, Oregon the next day to go to art school. Then he invites Russell to his leaving do.
Russell attends and while Glen is holding court, he learns more about Glen from his flatmate, Jill. She’s not afraid to spill the beans and tells him all she can about Glen’s past relationship with a douche-pony called John. Later, our pretty pair splinter off from the group and Glen confides that he finds his friends a bit much, hence his decision to head to the US of A, the concrete jungle where dreams are made of (no, wait).
Back at the ranch (Russell’s charity shop chic abode), the lads ingest a seriously impressive quantity of class A’s and see the night out together. There are confessions, laughter, awkward pauses, anger – a cornucopia of emotion played out over eight hours.
Come morning what will become of our potential Romeos? Come with me to the Question Section! Will Glen leave? Can you fall in love with someone in two days? Why is Russell so frightened to be himself?
Why can’t I go to art school in Portland? And, is there a final rush to the airport (or train station) to stop our hero leaving without a proper goodbye?
(All future films should consider using this plot device as well as; at least one dance off and a makeover/training montage, either/or).
I’ll leave this here so you can find out for yourselves but it’s very touching. Truly.
Huh. This is a touching film, it is. The leads are lovely and you’ll likely want them to be together until the end of time. But, it is also boring as sin in places. Sorry.
A handful of the phrases I jotted down during this viewing experience, bullet-pointed for your reading pleasure:
- Naturalistic dialogue – So natural, especially paired with the sometimes intrusive camera shots, that you really feel part of the action. At times, whilst Cullen is soaping his balls in the tub for instance and during sex, you may feel uncomfortable with this closeness. Maybe. Let me look again to be sure…
- Almost fly-on-the-wall filming – As above.
- Nice wide shots – This film is stunning. Properly S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G. The long shots, such as Russell leaning against the backdrop of the pool he lifeguards at, and sweeping shots of the estate his lives on, are very nice. All lending to the character’s feeling of isolation, of being just a tiny fish in a massive city-scaped pond, I guess (who knows? But that’s what I feel).
- Empty streets by night – Lots of these. Probably for the same reason as above, innit.
- Seventies shabby chic decor – Russell’s flat is a palace of kitsch. I want it for myself.
So, I appreciate it for being a heart-tweaking, romantic and good-looking film but it got a little bit meh in the middle. Maybe I should’ve chopped up a few lines to really experience it?
Cullen is a dark and brooding angel, Chris New was good and I can see why it was critically acclaimed.
However, it’s not the best film I’ve ever seen.
My Rating: 3/5 – Beautiful, touching but a bit dull. Bring back Margaret & co.