There is a certain amount of stillness to Michael Grandage’s film ‘My Policeman’. Set in a grey, cold Brighton, the film opens with Gina McKee (Marion) arranging a spare room in her home for an impending guest as her husband Tom (Linus Roache) takes the dog out for a walk. Moments later, their house guest Pattrick( Rupert Everett ) arrives in a wheelchair.
There is a sense of uneasiness with the arrival of the new guest. Marion accuses Tom of not paying the courtesy visit to Pattrick in the other room while Tom expresses how their marriage has been disrupted thanks to the inclusion of a new member in the house. The three share uneasy dynamics but not much is shared in the initial few minutes of the film.
It is only as the film progresses and the story travels back in time does one realize that the young Tom (Harry Styles) a police officer in England had a roaring affair with Museum curator Patrick (David Dawson) at a time when homosexuality was still considered a crime in the country. To hide their affair, they befriended Marion (Emma Corrin), who was besotted by the dashing, good-looking Tom.
Tom taught Marrion to swim, and took her to the museum where Patrrick introduced her to renowned artists. Marrion, on her part, taught Tom to appreciate art and even read books. While the two grow fond of each other, Pattrick played the third wheel. Even when the two get married, Pattrick is the best man appointed to give the speech. He even turns up the day after the wedding at their cottage to cook them a wedding meal. All seems okay for Marrion until she witnesses her husband embracing Pattrick at a nearby cottage. She is devastated but the moment is also underplayed much like every other emotion in Grandage’s film. And that perhaps is the biggest flaw of ‘My Policeman’.
Based on a 2012 novel of the same name by Bethan Roberts, the film is pitched as a gay love-story set in the 1950s where the two men selfishly use the woman for their own convenience. It’s not a tragic story, neither is it a story of redemption or even revenge and perhaps the film doesn’t really know what genre it wants to fit in. With a nonlinear narrative and six actors playing three central characters, the screenplay is slightly chaotic.
‘My Policeman’ showcases Harry Styles, a new entrant to acting, in all his glory. He is a good-looking strapping man, who is innocent and charming. So charming that a man and a woman fall deeply in love with him. Styles highlights Tom’s innocence and naivety well making the character very charming. Corrin meanwhile also brings in a sense of vulnerability to her character while David Dawson plays the cool, slightly mean Pattrick with perfection. The older actors are however limited due to a properly written script even though Grint shines as the angsty paralytic man in a few scenes.
There have been an ample amount of films depicting same-sex love stories in the west- ranging from tragic to comedic. ‘My Policeman’ unfortunately doesn’t offer anything new nor does it leave a lasting impact or stir you deeply. It only provides good performances from the lead cast and showcases Styles as the next big thing in Hollywood.
‘My Policeman’ is streaming on Prime Video.