CINEMATIC ROMANCE is begging for some reworking of its tired genre lines, and newcomer Andrew Haigh might be the one to do it. Reminiscent of the films of Kelly Reichardt (Old Joy, Meek's Cutoff, that insufferable one about the poor chick and her dog), Weekend is a work of grace and introspection, but one that's always present and candid.
The settings are the expected ones for a story about young British men: cinderblock apartments, bars, nightclubs, streets, an amusement park, a gym. But it's the spaces between expectation and reality that guide Haigh's narrative, which follows Russell (Tom Cullen) and Glen (Chris New) as they tenuously explore their newfound intimacy after a boozed-up one-night stand.
Russell, who's not quite out, posits himself as a romantic in contrast to Glen's concrete sexual identity and refusal to commit to anyone—one of the best moments in the film is a back and forth about that very conflict, while both Russell and Glen are fueled by weed and coke. Cullen and New deliver convincing performances, handling improvised dialogue with utter naturalism, but writer/director Haigh's vision seems clearest during that heated scene: here are two people in love, evolving as individuals within a narrow-minded world.