My Policeman review: Harry Styles is fine enough in entirely average film
In his second feature film in as many months, Harry Style once more steps into the leading man role – this time in Amazon Prime’s My Policeman. The results are… OK.
The film, directed by Michael Grandage and based on the book by Bethan Roberts, is split between two timelines, the late 1950s and late 1990s, as we follow the complex relationship between the three characters.
In the ’50s we meet a young Tom (Harry Styles), Marion (Emma Corrin) and Patrick (David Dawson), all just entering adulthood.
Forty years later, Patrick (Rupert Everett), who has just suffered a stroke, moves into Marion (Gina McKee) and Tom’s (Linus Roach) home under their full-time care.
Of course, everything is not as it seems. Now married, Marion and Tom clearly have a fraught history with their house guest.
The film shifts between both time periods for sometimes long, sometimes short bursts as viewers begin to piece together exactly how these three people know each other – and discover why there is a weird tension constantly lingering in the air.
Centred around Marion and Patrick’s relationship with Tom, the film attempts to hold a sense of mystery as we see the same scenes from different perspectives of the two characters.
The audience soon discovers that while Tom has been courting Marion, behind her back Patrick and Tom have been having a secret love affair.
If this all sounds similar to Brokeback Mountain then you wouldn’t be far off. In fact, there is one scene that is the same, beat-for-beat, when Marion stumbles upon Patrick and Tom having a rendezvous in the shed.
As the plot begins to unravel we get a classic bout of gay trauma, abuse from the police, and happy endings that are, as always, too little too late.
And how does Harry Styles shape up? His performance is fine enough and he may have even been the perfect person to cast.
Tom, affectionally dubbed “my policeman” is very much an object of desire for both Marion and Patrick, and becomes a cardboard cutout of what they are projecting onto him. In a sense, he fits the role of a naive good-looking man trying to navigate a world entirely new to him, eerily well.
And following the controversial comments Styles made about the sex scenes in the film being “tender” compared to guys normally just “going at it”, they too were entirely ordinary.
However, just as he suffered in Don’t Worry Darling, when faced with a fiercely talented cast, his performance here does, at points, feel a little lacklustre in comparison.
Corrin and Dawson both thrive in their roles, competing to be the strongest character of the trio and pushing forward their opinions. There is a real underlying tension between the two which will leaving viewers squirming in their seats.
Corrin has some particularly standout scenes where we can see the desperation and conflict of the spiralling situation playing out on her face.
And in the present day, the shots of the dreary English coast, paired with Everett, McKee and Roach acting utterly miserable is enough to really bring forward the desperate sadness of the situation the trio have found themselves in.
Nonetheless, the film tries to do too much all at once and gives itself no space to fully flesh everything out. There is no sense of what has transpired in the 40 years between the present and the past, or how Marion and Tom’s relationship has survived for this long.
The film also attempts to thread through motifs of diary entries, fine art and coastal scenery but occasionally their insertions seem clunky or overdone. There are abrupt scenes shoved in such as when Marion is confronted with one of her friends coming out – and the character never being seen again.
My Policeman certainly has strong moments, with some stellar angst-ridden performance from all leads, but it doesn’t particularly stand out. By the end, there is an overwhelming feeling of “that was fine” and being left with more questions than answers.
My Policeman will be in cinemas from 21 October and be available to watch on Amazon Prime from 4 November.
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