With the stink of his performance in Don’t Worry Darling just about dissipating in the air, Amazon Studios appears to have it in for Harry Styles as they present My Policeman a film that rests, even more so than the previous film, on Styles shoulders.
In 1990 married couple Tom (Linus Roache) and Marion (Gina McKee) having differing feelings on the arrival of stroke victim Patrick (Rupert Everett) we soon learn that in the 1950s Tom (Styles) was a promising police officer who’s burgeoning relationship with Marion (Emma Corrin) was hampered by his affair with Patrick (David Dawson).
Given Styles is someone who plays with gender norms on stage and in public appearances his choice to be in an LGBT+ drama isn’t entirely surprising, that anyone would pin the entire film on him is somewhat. Styles isn’t a bad actor, but he’s not a very good one and as the centre of a love triangle this causes a huge issue.
Screenwriter Ron Nyswaner has previous with LGBT drama – Philadelphia perhaps his best piece of work about the subject and clearly wants to tell a story along with director Michael Grandage about the toll of lies and keeping yourself hidden. It’s commendable that the film isn’t afraid to show two men having sex, and both Styles and Dawson go for it very well.
It’s just that the film is lacking in passion, from the affair, to Tom’s relationship with his new wife, there’s never any life in the narrative and the flitting between the two timelines acts as if there is a big revelation coming but the revelation is that Tom had sex with a man, which we knew from pretty much the beginning.
This is compounded by the fact that none of the characters are particularly likeable. Tom is a liar in the past and an obnoxious grump in the “present”, Marion is a duplicitous vindictive woman who nearly has a man killed and Patrick is a smug mean spirited person. All of this could have been explored and mined, but the film is never very interested in making it a perfect triangle meaning that it’s obvious from the start that Tom doesn’t particularly like his wife, and his wife doesn’t like him either.
By the end you’re just left wondering – so what?