Films set in an era when being gay was outlawed have always proved ripe for dramatization and My Policeman is one such film that falls for the allure of such a story. Set in Brighton it flips between modern day and the 1950’s where the love triangle begins. Tom (Harry Styles) is a young police officer in 50’s Brighton who befriends and ultimately begins dating Marion (Emma Corrin) having taught her to swim she encourages his interest in art specifically the works of Turner whose turbulent paintings will soon echo that of their relationship when they befriend Patrick (David Dawson) the museum art curator who, unknown to Marion, has already embarked on an illicit love affair with Tom.
Mirroring this is the modern day story where Tom is now played by Linus Roache and married to Marion (Gina McKee) who has agreed to Patrick, now heavily disabled through a stroke, to live in their spare room. But Patrick is the spark that may cause their marriage to combust with Tom refusing to even speak to Patrick and the flashbacks that unfold as Marion reads his diaries explore the developing love story between Tom & Patrick in their younger days.
With two sets of actors playing the same roles it serves to underline a talent divide some due to script shortcomings, others …well, My Policemen has been sold very much on Harry Styles as a leading man and whilst he was fine in a minor role in Dunkirk but it’s a different matter altogether when it comes to playing a leading role and whilst the jury was out on his lead role in ‘Don’t Worry Darling‘ his role as a gay man living in an oppressive era is a difficult one in the most able of hands and his hesitant delivery and almost continual lo-fi delivery has him faltering in the role. Emma Corrin, a decent actress, as a homophobic wife doesn’t have the writing that her role requires. Far better served is Gina McKee, a great actress deserving of far more success, whose marriage to Linus Roache’s Tom is far more engaging as he refuses to have anything to do with Patrick and the impact it is having on his struggling marriage. And of course there’s Rupert Everett. Here unshaved, bed bound and mumbling almost unintelligibly that it’s a wonder our editor wasn’t in the running for the role (‘You’re fired!’– Ed) is still very good.
With Tom a policeman in an era when it was a crime to be gay meaning that it’s could be easily misconstrued when he’s with Patrick and wanting to take down his particulars which they do in graphic style that may annoy Styles female fan base. But this is slow moving with no especially revealing insights with a lead role that should cement a new acting talent but serves only to underline that Harry Styles needs to build up to roles as challenging as this.
Emma Corrin & David Dawson chat about the making of the film here…..