Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekend (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway


"Weekend" is the insular urban story of  Russell, a young man who works as a life guard (Tom Cullen) and his one night stand at a  gay bar. Abruptly out of a stoned haze, Russell meets the bohemian and iconoclastic  Glen (Chris New). Glen doesn't have much patience for timid closeted men. At first look, it doesn't appear that Russell and Glen really like each other. Russell is pressed into embarrassment by his macho British family and Glen is all about pleasure and abandon. He could care less for the pursuits or worries of career and family. Needless to say, the next morning they barely touch.
Then Glen brings out a tape recorder presumably in a kind of "truth or dare" art installation. Although Glen is brusque, a romance ensues.
"Weekend" is essentially a film in the indie  mumblecore mode. There are no effects or stylish camera angles. Events are shown as is with no elaborations or poetic lyricism. When Russell and Glen have sex, they have sex. That's it. The lust is shown without spectacle or shyness. Glen could just as easily bolt from a room as much as kiss Russell on the cheek and he often does. We feel as though we are eavesdropping on an intimacy and cocaine is involved.
We see Russell get ready for work and arrive each day without fail. Around his straight family he is shy and taciturn, but with Glen he becomes sociable and active.
The urban Nottingham setting with its emphasis on lusty  activity in solitary windows echo the paintings of  Edward Hopper as well the David Hockney documentary, "A Bigger Splash" (1975) directed by Jack Hazan.
"Weekend" even pays tribute to Alfred Hitchcock. In one scene, during a goodbye, Russell is about to say something emotional. Suddenly a loud train overwhelms the conversation. When the train leaves, we are forced to make up for ourselves what was actually said. This is reminiscent of "North by Northwest" when the agents talk to Cary Grant under the noise of a jet engine.
"Weekend" is an introspective character study that shows that the need for the hunt is all-inclusive. The apprehension of heartbreak is a universal condition beyond the societal mazes of gay or straight.
Write Ian at

No comments: