“Personally, I’d love to see Mother Russia,” says Patrick, adding, “It’s setting of my favourite novel, Anna Karenina.” “I haven’t read it,” laments Marion. “Oh, you must! It’s literature’s most tragic love story. And the most true, because all love stories are tragic, aren’t they,” says Patrick and looks towards Tom for approval while Marion replies, “I hope not.” (sic)
Indeed, love stories are tragic and the more tragic they are, the more loved they are. So is the story of Patrick (David Dawson), Tom (Harry Styles) and Marion (Emma Corrin). Patrick works with a museum; Marion is a school teacher and Tom is a policeman. The three are caught in a love triangle. However, it is not the case of two men wooing Marion but Patrick and Tom loving each other. To make matters worse, Tom is married to Marion and it is 50s in Brighton where same-sex relationship was still illegal.
Cut to today. We see an aged Marion (Gina McKee) who welcomes an ailing Patrick (Rupert Everett) into her house even as her husband Tom (Linus Roache) is shown to be uncomfortable with this arrangement. She chances upon diaries maintained by a young Patrick and the story of their lives unfolds for us. It shuttles between the 50s and today.
However, the story is neither a critique nor compelling. More or less, it moves on expected lines and hence it becomes imperative on the cast to carry the film on their shoulders. Here, David Dawson as a young Patrick and Emma Corrin as a young Marion steal the show. Dawson has been successful in showing us what a hapless lover might look like. Emma Corrin’s character is once again caught in a loveless marriage and she for sure knows how to convey the angst. The occasional tilted neck at times reminds us of her playing Princess Diana in ‘The Crown’ but the accent does the trick for her.
Harry Styles, who got the most challenging and titular part, ends up dud as he has failed to portray the complexities of a closeted gay caught in a lavender marriage. He rather keeps it straight. In the older avatar it is Gina McKee and Linus Roache who impress. In fact, that track deserved more screen space. We get very less to see how the lives of these three finally shaped up.
Directed by Michael Grandage, ‘My Policeman’, is based upon an eponymous novel by Bethan Roberts. Screenplay by Ron Nyswaner veers from average to tepid and struggles to keep pace with brilliant editing by Chris Dickens. Also, a backstory was desperately needed to tell us what happened to Patrick after his jail term and how he became invalid. While we thoroughly enjoy the first 40-50 minutes of this 113 minutes long movie, we just sit through the remainder.
‘My Policeman’ has the tenderness of ‘Brokeback Mountain’. At times it also shows the intensity of ‘Portrait Of Lady On Fire’. However, it lacks the finesse and depth of both. It has a certain film festival movie kind of a feel but that’s about it. It doesn’t go any further. It’s beautiful but not brave. ‘My Policeman’, a sincere effort by the makers, is currently playing on Amazon Prime Video....