This film was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival
Adapted from the 2012 novel of the same name, “My Policeman” becomes a casualty of a miscast lead and a paltry screenplay (by Ron Nyswaner). The story itself is not overly complex, but even worse, it’s not well-told. This bland and draggy film is visually lovely, but it’s a prime example of style over substance.
Set in Brighton, England, the film tells the story of forbidden love between two men, jumping back and forth in time between their initial meeting in the 1950s and their reunion in the 1990s. It highlights the struggles the LGBTQ+ community faced decades ago both from the law and in society, exploring a time when homosexuality was illegal in the United Kingdom.
The story begins when married couple Marion (Gina McKee) and Tom (Linus Roache) are forced to deal with their rocky past when their old friend Patrick (Rupert Everett) suffers a stroke and moves in with them. The trio have quite a bit of unfinished business, as their friendship has been haunted with decades of regret and desire. Their history is told in a series of flashbacks where policeman Tom (Harry Styles) first meets museum curator Patrick (David Dawson) and the two begin an illicit love affair. In order to hide their relationship, his sexual orientation, and avoid arrest (or worse), Tom marries Marion (Emma Corrin) as a cover.
I hate to appear like I am picking on Styles yet again (see “Don’t Worry Darling”), but he simply cannot hold his weight against his more accomplished co-stars. His performance sticks out in the worst way and sometimes takes the viewer out of the moment. His turn as Tom is clunky and wooden, and his performance is almost as interesting as watching paint dry. He may have movie star charm and good looks, but Styles lacks leading man star power and acting talent. His performance does the film no favors.
It’s not all the fault of Styles, however. Everyone here lacks chemistry, and that’s a major detriment for a story about a passionate romance. What could be a tender love story has no “bite.”
Riddled with ill-fitting clichés and a predictable conclusion, “My Policeman” is a stiff, passionless affair.
By: Louisa Moore