Dir. Andrew Haigh
Aus Rating: MA15+
Running Time: 97mins
A film that only grows in memory as time goes by, I really do hope Weekend finds some ounce of success at the Australian box office. Doubtful, but I hope so. The success of the film was only strengthened by a recent watch of Thomas Bezucha's Big Eden. Released in 2000, this film was naturally acclaimed by gay audiences, but I couldn't help but find the film a somewhat bizarre and deflating sit. I was initially impressed by the mere fact that it looked like it was filmed using a real cinematographer with an actual camera that cost money - what a novel idea - and that the music wasn't bouncy, pseudo porn soundtrack music, but real music that sounded like it was recorded in a studio with instruments. As nice as it was to see a gay romance storyline play out between actors like Arye Gross and Eric Schweig, hardly the typical romantic leads you'll find in gay or straight cinema, the film gives way to unrealistic and cliched plotting that becomes increasingly tiresome. There are characters here that could have been taken in some really interesting directions, but Bezucha, who also wrote the screenplay, lays the sweetness and light on thick with a trowel. As gorgeous as the scenery is, the action going on around it is rather colourless. The ending of Weekend could easily been a horribly cliched affair, but it's played so modestly and with utter realism that they get away with it. Yet, in Big Eden, it's hard not to chuckle when a characters makes the mad dash to the airport to stop the other one leaving. The floorboards creak as it lumbers about its familiar plot developments, whereas Weekend dances and weaves, using our familiarity with the genre tropes as a base to explore the inner turmoils of these characters. They were clearly going for something less artificial than, for example, Eating Out or Another Gay Movie, so why stifle that with cliche and quirk?
Of course, I did enjoy seeing Tim DeKay without a shirt on though and we all know that's one of the most important factors in judging a piece of gay cinema, right?
It's just a shame his character, by far the most interesting and complex of the lot, was shafted for Schweig whose idea of playing a shy character is to make them as boring and transparent as possible. Ah well. Weekend: A-, but a rewatch will probably shuck away any niggles I had and I'll have to bump it up. Big Eden: C