After suffering through a pretty long dry spell of not feeling the movies, I stumbled on something different and it also happened to be something refreshing. Weekend is a indie film with heart, soul and so much simple sophistication that you can’t help to wonder why would you want to spend so much money making a high production movie, when you can make something so beautiful with so little.
The name behind Weekend, Andrew Haigh is not foreign to me, I know his work on Looking that unfortunately isn’t going to go further from its second season. Going in with that knowledge I knew that I was in for a treat because Haigh’s ability to find beauty in simplicity is something that makes Looking special – as well as Weekend.
The plot is just about two men, meeting and hooking up before one of them plans to leave the country. They have limited time together so they don’t waste the moments they have. And no, they don’t just roll around in the sheets, they talk and they have long conversations. Apparently most of the dialog was improvised, making me adore the movie even more but in a way it makes sense too because a lot of the times I felt like the verbal part of Weekend wasn’t necessarily going anywhere. Yet, that was exactly what made Weekend charming since it felt random and therefore real – when two people meet, they tend to talk about anything, everything and nothing really. Not every conversation leads to somewhere, not all words hang above them later on.. they are just empty chit chat conversations and it felt very natural.
Tom Cullen and Chris New were pretty much the best choice of actors for this movie. Cullen’s ability to convey a sweet, sometimes shy man was so on point that it felt authentic. After I saw Weekend, I did some digging, as you usually do and I was a bit surprised to find out that Cullen was dating Orphan Black’s leading lady in real life because I would have thought he was actually gay. Seriously, that’s how subtly realistic his portrayal was and it just goes to show how well Cullen portrays Russell. That and Haigh’s skill of pulling out something vulnerable from straight men and placing it on screen is utterly beautiful.
The movie reminded me of Estonia’s cinematography at times, especially since the apartment building was being shown as a constant element in Weekend. For some reason, that element always makes me sad because it prompts an idea that no person can stand out living in such a box and yet, there he is, subtly living his life and trying to find his place. There’s not much drama per say, but there is a sort of melancholy in its theme and I believe it’s because there’s not much going on. The movie takes place during a weekend, it focuses on Russell and Glen talking and it doesn’t really end in a way that one would like.
Yet, Weekend is tragically beautiful and it’s partially because it is so raw. Most Estonian movies have the same fundamental point of view, a man living his life, and yet, Weekend manages to do something special with so little while very many movies fail to do so. I’m not completely sure why or how, but all the elements and actors are just captured in a way that it isn’t superficial nor boring. That in a way is the biggest accomplishment for Weekend – being something great in its complete minimalism.