Photo: ‘My Policeman’
A Strong And Complementary Ensemble
This film shows us an unhappily married couple as we flashback to how they met during a time when they were younger and the husband had a same-sex affair with a museum curator. The ensemble that played the young and older versions of the main characters complemented each other well and captured the general nature of each character throughout each one’s life. Harry Styles’ performance was his best since his role in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’. He gave a performance of palpable self-conflict and romantic passion, complemented by David Dawson as his love interest. Patrick (David Dawson) exudes a tempered presence and lonely demeanor before he meets Tom (Harry Styles) and a passionate affair ensues that is intimate and compelling.
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Tom’s wife, Marion (Emma Corrin), does a fantastic job of portraying the pain and humiliation of being cuckolded, inevitably eliciting empathy from the audience. Linus Roache and Gina McKee, who portray the older Tom and Marion, do well in capturing the aftermath of the affair and their unhappiness with the life they chose to continue together. This ensemble reinforces this harrowing narrative, leaving you with sadness for each of the characters whose lives were wasted but ultimately find peace with an emotional and heart-warming ending.
Well Delivered Drama
The film occurs in both the past and the present, switching back and forth through flashbacks. As we gain a sense of the characters, the film is able to create drama and intrigue on what may have occurred during their life. There is tension and conflict between characters that were very close and happy together in the past, which sets the foundation of the plot and allows it to unravel through flashbacks. The flashbacks serve as the primary plot device through which drama and suspense are produced and done effectively.
The build-up to the reveal of the conflict is misleading, but as the truth continues to unravel more and more, it leaves you wrong about every theory you may have had about the conflict. The story takes several hard turns and takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions.
‘My Policeman’ – Heart-Felt Empathy
The screen adaptation from Bethan Roberts’ novel of the same name was incredibly well done and produced a compelling narrative that elicits empathy for the main characters. The setting of the story is particularly challenging for the characters, as they must confine to certain rules and laws that don’t allow them to be who they are or to have what they want. This results in a gloomy atmosphere as the characters age and realize they have lived the wrong life and refuse to admit it to themselves. Like most romantic dramas, it leans on heartbreak and a couple’s issues to stay together. However, ‘My Policeman’ takes this to another level that exacerbates the heartbreak. The world is against them. Against who they are and against their right to be happy. This film can and will cause some self-introspection about how lucky we really are in today’s society, how far society has come, and how much it still has to go. This movie is filled with an array of emotions that captivates an audience.
At the beginning of the film, we see several transitioning shots of ocean waves crashing onto a seawall. Some of these transitions seem unnecessary but return later in the film to show the significance of these images in the film and their relation to the characters. This is a perfect example of cinematography with a specific purpose. It can be aesthetically pleasing while contributing to the story. The cinematography overall provided a few other transitional shots like this. Its scarce use of these shots and other unnecessary shots seemed to aid the film’s pacing, which was very effective and did not bog down the audience with extra visuals that did not contribute to the overall flow of the film.
An Allegory of Society’s Iniquity
The film takes place in 1950s Britain, in an era that prohibited homosexuality as local police actively hunted down offenders. During this time, a public feeling of disdain toward homosexuals often led to violence against them. This setting of the film makes the plot particularly compelling as Tom and Patrick are in real danger for their relationship with each other. This highlights the reality for many gay men that had the misfortune of living during such conservative times. This serves as an allegory of society’s rigidness and cruelty in those days. There were undoubtedly more men like Tom and Patrick who were persecuted and those who never even had a chance of finding love out of fear of imprisonment and/or death. This is a very important film to watch and honors those who lived and died in a world that hated and oppressed who they were.
‘My Policeman’ is a romantic drama that pays homage to those who were persecuted for “righteousness” sake during a regressive and dangerous time for gay men. Its layering and powerful dramatic elements transcend this romantic film into a powerful allegory of society’s shortcomings and discrimination against same-sex relationships. ‘My Policeman’ is now streaming on Amazon Video.
Cast: Harry Styles, David Dawson, Emma Corrin, Linus Roache, Rupert Everett, Gina McKee
Director: Michael Grandage
Writer: Ron Nyswaner | Cinematographer: Ben Davis | Music: Steve Price
Producer(s): Greg Berlanti, Phillip Herd, Cora Palfrey, Robbie Rogers, Sarah Schecter
By Alvaro Devora
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Alvaro Devora is an aspiring writer/director whose life revolves around the creation and appreciation of literary and cinematic content. Though still new to the industry, Alvaro is also passionate about discussing important and substantial topics in Film and TV, and has found the perfect place to do so at The Hollywood Insider. Being an anti-gossip media network and taking pride in meaningful content, The Hollywood Insider is a company that Alvaro can take pride in writing for and continue nurturing his passion.