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On a Friday night after a drunken house party with his straight mates, Russell heads out to a gay club, alone and on the pull. Just before closing time he picks up Glen but what's expected to be just a one-night stand becomes something else, something special. That weekend, in bars and in bedrooms, getting drunk and taking drugs, telling stories and having sex, the two men get to know each other. It is a brief encounter that will resonate throughout their lives. The Weekender is both an honest and unapologetic love story between two guys and a film about the universal struggle for an authentic life in all its forms. It is about the search for identity and the importance of making a passionate commitment to your life.
For more about Weekend and the Weekend Blu-ray release, see Weekend Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on March 30, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Andrew Haigh
Writer: Andrew Haigh
Starring: Tom Cullen, Chris New
» See full cast & crew
Weekend Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, March 30, 2012
Winner of Most Promising Newcomer and Best Achievement in Production Awards at the British Independent Film Awards, Andrew Haigh's "Weekend" (2011) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Peccadillo Pictures. The supplemental features on the disc include original theatrical trailer; video interview with director Andrew Haigh and actors Tom Cullen and Chris New; second interview with director Andrew Haigh and producer Tristan Goligher; behind the scenes footage; footage from the film's premiere at LFF; and more. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
After attending a party, Russell (Tom Cullen, TV's Black Mirror) heads to a nightclub somewhere in the city. He has a couple of drinks and meets Glen (Chris New, TV's Garrow Law). The two talk and then head to his place. There, they talk some more and then make love.
On the following morning, while drinking coffee in bed, Glen asks Russell to participate in his art project. All he has to do is explain how he felt when he first saw him, how he felt later on, and how he wanted to feel - while he is taping him.
Russell's confession soon evolves into a conversation about life, relationships, and stereotypes. Glen also asks Russell to clarify whether he is actually out. Eventually, the two exchange phone numbers and arrange to see each other again.
Russell and Glen meet again. This time around they talk about their jobs – Russell is a lifeguard while Glen works in an art gallery – traveling, and America. Later on, they end up back in Russell's flat, where they get high and make love again. Before he leaves, Glen promises to call Russell. Moments later, he comes back and reveals to him that he is moving away, to America, for at least two years. But they could see each other again, one last time, at his farewell party.
Andrew Haigh's Weekend reminds about Spanish director Julio Medem's Room in Rome in which two beautiful women meet and spend a night in an expensive hotel, making love, talking about their partners, triumphs and disappointments. Before the night is over both realize that they are madly in love with each other.
In Weekend the two protagonists also fall in love and realize that they were meant for each other. Both are gay, but only Glen appears comfortable with his sexuality. Russell is a quiet and sensitive young man who has chosen to live his life mostly in the shadows of other people, not necessarily hiding, but certainly not being completely out and proud.
The film's greatest strength is its frankness of expression. The majority of the discussions in it are about identity and recognition, but it never feels like they are part of a big statement. They come and go as Russell and Glen learn about each other and their lifestyles.
There are plenty of witty one-liners. However, viewers easily offended by crass and explicit talk could disagree. Those who do understand that from time to time real people use colorful language under certain circumstances will certainly appreciate Haigh's sharp sense of humor.
The cast is excellent, with Cullen in particular looking tremendously convincing as the shy and slightly disoriented lifeguard. The short sequence at the end of the film where he holds the tape recorder and listens to his own voice is incredibly poignant and touching. New is also believable as the frustrated artist who has decided to seek a better life in a country he believes is a lot more tolerant towards men like him.
Shot on digital video, the film tends to look a bit soft at times. The camera work is also shaky from start to finish, but there are no quick cuts and zooms.
Note: In 2011, Weekend won Most Promising Newcomer (Tom Cullen) and Best Achievement in Production Awards at the British Independent Film Awards.
Weekend Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Andrew Haigh's Weekend arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Peccadillo Pictures.
Shot on digital video, Weekend tends to look a bit soft at times. During a few of the outdoor nighttime sequences, in particular, is where certain limitations are easy to spot. Nevertheless, the high-definition transfer conveys pleasing depth and fluidity, with most close-ups looking very good. The color-scheme is also convincing, though the blacks never look lush and well saturated (but this is a source limitation, not a transfer weakness). Some extremely light banding is noticeable during the club footage, where Glen and Russell first meet. Occasionally, extremely light digital video noise also pops up, but it is hardly ever distracting. Lastly, there are no stability issues to report in this review. All in all, despite some minor source limitations, Weekend's transition to Blu-ray is indeed most satisfying. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location. For the record, there is no PAL or 1080/50i content preceding the disc's main menu).
Weekend Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English LPCM 2.0. For the record, Peccadillo Pictures have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
Weekend is primarily a dialog-driven feature. Naturally, the two-channel loseless audio track is quite appropriate. Generally speaking, the dialog is clean and stable, but occasionally - for example, during some of the party scenes - it could be somewhat difficult to follow. The sporadic unevenness and dynamic fluctuations, however, are part of the film's audio design, not weaknesses of the loseless track. For the record, there are no sync issues or audio dropouts to report in this review.
Weekend Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Note: All of the supplemental features on this disc are perfectly playable on North American Blu-ray players, including the PS3.
Weekend Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Andrew Haigh's Weekend is a simple and surprisingly charming film about two young men falling in love over the course of 48 hours. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be looking forward to the director's next project. Peccadillo Pictures have put together a beautiful Blu-ray release (it truly is one very stylish release), which is extremely easy to recommend. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Weekend Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Weekend Blu-ray Detailed - January 12, 2012
Independent British distributors Peccadillo Pictures have detailed their upcoming Blu-ray release of Andrew Haigh's Weekend (2011), starring Tom Cullen, Chris New and Laura Freeman. Last year, the film won Most Promising Newcomer and Best Achievement in Production ...
• Weekend Blu-ray - October 23, 2011
Independent British distributors Peccadillo Pictures have revealed a preliminary release date for Andrew Haigh's Weekend (2011), starring Tom Cullen and Chris New. Earlier this year, the film won the Audience Award at the San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay ...
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