Directed by Michael Grandage, My Policeman is a love story that wants to demonstrate the height of passion yet leaves the viewer disappointed. Despite its willingness to show graphic scenes of sexuality, the film feels less like a breakthrough for the LGBTQ community and more of a failed opportunity to process the pain of the past.
Set in the 1990s, married couple Tom and Marion (Linus Roache and Gina McKee) live a contented and quiet life. However, their tranquility is threatened with their friend Patrick (Rupert Everett) suffers a severe stroke that requires Marion to invite him into their home to care for him. When she tells him of her decision, Tom is furious at his wife and refuses to speak with their old friend. Sitting in their grief and anger, Tom, Marion and Patrick reflect upon their youth (played by Harry Styles, Emma Corrin and David Dawson) and the complex and complicated relationships that set their world into motion.
In many ways, the most divisive aspect of Policeman will remain its cast. Led by Styles and Everett, the film has a certain sense of chemistry within the two groupings that helps their performances on screen. However, at the same time, there’s also seems to be something missing.
Written by Ron Nyswaner, Policeman has an excellent opportunity to explore the injustice of oppression against the homosexual community. Set primarily during a time when homosexuals were thrown into prison for their behaviour, the film highlights their desire to express their love without fear or persecution. At this time, to be known as a homosexual meant imprisonment or worse and they are left to find one another amongst the shadows. Even so, within Nyswaner’s script, this potentially compelling conversation settles for bland romance and leaves its cast adrift in the process.
So, unfortunately for this viewer, the verdict is still out.
My Policeman premiered at TIFF ’22. For more information, click here.