Where I Watched It: amazon
English Audio Description Provided By: Media Access Group
Narrated By: John Burgess
I think a different set of eyes on this film before release could ahve really helped. There’s a strong film buried within My Policeman, as the movie has a lot to say about being gay in a certain time period, the shame, and what the dehumanization and mistreatment of those to be considered perverts and deviants did on their lives. It also has a really strong ensemble, as the film takes place in a past/present continuous time jump format. So we are always taking a look at how these characters developed, but does this actually help the film?
Each character has two counterparts, with the Emma Corrine/Fina McKee character centralized between the two men in her life, played by Harry Styles/Linus Roache in the titular role, and David Dawson/Rupert Everett as almost her enemy in maintaining what she believes to be the existence she wants out of her life, but also a close friend, and even someone she admits in a conversation to a friend that she thought about what life would be like if she had chosen him (her gaydar is broken at this point).
We see these characters in different moments, with Everett’s character opening the film recovering from a stroke, and having to live with his friends. McKee ends up taking care of him, while for some reason, Roache won’t have anything to do with him. It’s not that this structure doesn’t work, it’s that we frequently cut and it ends up dissipating the emotional strength just when a timeline is starting to grab hold.
Obviously, the director values the twists and turns that get to the how and why, but honestly the biggest “twist” here is pretty obvious. They really aren’t hiding anything at a certain moment, and the film features nudity, and sex scenes between Styles and both of his screen partners. It’s pretty obvious where this road is headed, but there’s some attempt at allure or mystery that is unnecessary, and just takes the steam out of the momentum built.
On top of that, now having seen both Harry Styles films this year, this is by far his weakest performance. There are some line readings here where I’m pretty sure he didn’t know where to put the emphasis, or why his character would say that specific line. Some lines are just flat, in the way someone learning to act would read a line they do not fully understand.The greater problem is that he’s dropped into a film with some truly wonderful talent. Corrine is stunning, Dawson plays his role with an unapologetic determination unusual for this period, and the older counterparts are well known career actors who deliver on the promise of their presence in the film.
Really, even though this film is about forbidden love between two men, it’s Corrine and McKee who steal the show.
The audio description here is appropriately British, and very good. Lots of sex scenes and general intimacy to describe. Not just that, but often the film dives into quieter moments, where a reaction can be conveyed fully in a facial expression, something that is too often lost on a blind and visually impaired audience.
I wish I could take this film higher, but it’s just the first edit of what might have been a stronger film. I don’t know though, even with perfect timeline navigation, how they would have fixed Harry Styles performance. I chalk this up to him being on a learning curve, and I hope for bigger and brighter things from him in the future. For someone coming out of a boy band, it would be easy for him to just do romantic comedies, but he consistently chooses challenging work, and I respect the hell out of that, even if he’s not quite aware that everyone standing around him has far more training than he.
Final Grade: B-