My Policeman review: an introspective yet static drama

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“My Policeman is an ambitious, introspective drama that is ultimately let down by a pair of underwhelming performances from two of its main stars.”

Advantages

  • David Dawson’s revealing performance

  • An intelligently structured scenario

  • Gina McKee’s mature and layered supporting performance

The inconvenients

  • The lackluster performances of Harry Styles and Emma Corrin

  • The languorous and prolonged rhythm of the film

  • A short end

my policeman is a stately, often overly suppressed adaptation of Bethan Roberts’ 2012 novel of the same name. The film has all the makings to be another respectable – if not particularly spectacular – ensemble drama from the UK. However, despite the presence of six main actors, only one of them really manages to leave a lasting impression in my policeman. As for the film itself, it often flattens rather than deepens the emotional complexity of its story.

The film’s quintessentially British and rigid demeanor could have, if handled better, only amplified the regret and despair present in its story of homosexual repression and multi-generational grief. In place, my policeman consistently fails to delve as fully into the raw emotions of its story as it should, which robs the film’s third act of much of its intended potency. While some of the film’s failings can be attributed to Michael Grandage’s relatively straightforward direction, the two underwhelming performances at the center of it are also to blame for a lot of my policeman‘s problems.

Harry Styles and Emma Corrin stand in a crowd together in My Policeman.
Amazon Studios, 2022

my policemanThe story of is told through the perspectives of two of its three main characters. The film’s first act is shown through the lens of Marion, a retired schoolteacher who is played in her senior years by Gina McKee. Through her memories, we see how the younger self of Marion (played by The crown(Emma Corrin) first met and fell in love with her future husband, Tom (Linus Roache), a former police officer who was played in his youth by Harry Styles. The memories that are shown at the start of the film also suggest that Tom and Marion’s close friendship with a museum curator named Patrick, who is played by both Rupert Everett in his older years and David Dawson as a young man, was completely innocent. .

However, after Marion, McKee’s eldest child, takes in the disabled Patrick from Everett, she begins to secretly read some of the diaries he has kept since his youth. When she does, my policeman cuts to the perspective of young Patrick from Dawson and reveals the secret sexual relationship he had for many years with Tom from Styles. From that moment, my policemanPatrick’s multiple perspectives and timelines begin to blend together, slowly but surely revealing how Patrick, Tom, and Marion’s friendship was ultimately destroyed.

The intelligent structure of my policemanThe screenplay, which was written by Ron Nyswaner, allows the film’s story to grow progressively more intricate and complex throughout its 113-minute runtime. The film even taps into a surprising amount of tension and intrigue by revealing Marion’s memories of her husband’s relationship with Patrick the way and at the pace it does. Unfortunately, Nyswaner’s script still comes to a conclusion that doesn’t feel as messy or emotionally raw as it arguably should.

Gina McKee stands on a beach next to Rupert Everett in My Policeman.
Amazon Studios, 2022

Styles, for his part, turns in a disappointing one-note performance as Tom, a man torn between the stability of his relationship with Marion and the passion of his secret romance with Patrick. Styles very clearly continues to grow as an actor, but he proves incapable of portraying the kind of vulnerability and dimensionality that my policemanthe story demands it of him. The same goes for Emma Corrin, who fares a bit better than Styles, but still gives a performance as Marion that doesn’t match the elegance of McKee’s turn as her older counterpart.

For the majority, my policemanThe current scenes work well precisely because of how McKee and Roache’s performances are more nuanced and mature as Marion and Tom. This does not mean, however, that my policemanThe flashbacks of are all hard to get through. Rather the opposite is true, in fact, thanks to Dawson’s truly eye-opening performance as Patrick. Dawson has an innate ability to hold your attention whenever he’s on screen, and it’s in the scenes where my policeman focuses the most on him that the film comes closest to communicating the romantic tragedy of its story.

Despite the undeniable quality of Dawson’s outstanding performances, however, my policemanThe overall power of is not the sum of its parts. As far as mature dramas go, the film is another competently done, occasionally stirring British romance. However, the too clean nature of my policemanThe final minutes of, along with lackluster performances from Corrin and Styles, ultimately prevent the film from standing out much from the crowd. In the end, McKee and Dawson’s emotional efforts as Marion and Patrick aren’t enough to transform my policeman into the kind of provocative, emotionally searing drama it desperately wants to be.

my policeman is now playing in select theaters and is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

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