Review by Dan Skip Allen
Harry Styles made a huge name for himself as a singer as part of the boy band One Direction. He then proceeded to break off from his bandmates and start a solo career, like many popular singers. Then he decided to start an acting career. He appeared in Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan's epic WWII film, he's playing Eros (aka Starfox, the brother of Thanos) in the MCU, and he was just in Olivia Wylde's Don't Worry Darling opposite Florence Pugh. Now he's in his first solo starring role in My Policeman, an English period piece set in the 1950s. Maybe he should have stuck to singing instead.
Tom Burgess (Harry Styles, Linus Roache) is a policeman in England. He likes his job and enjoys being a servant of the public, but when he's introduced to a young lady teacher in Brighton, Marion Taylor (Emma Corrin, Gina Mckee), he starts to develop an attraction to her very quickly. While visiting a museum, he catches the eye of a young curator, Patrick Hazlewood (David Dawson, Rupert Everett). The three become close friends, but Tom and Patrick become much more intimate in a sexual connotation. Marion is oblivious to this at the beginning, but not for long.
More and more gay and LGBT stories have been coming out to the big screen and streaming services. Such as Bros out now. These stories have been written in books like the one depicted in this film by Bethan Roberts. LGBTQ people have now become a larger and larger subsection of society. This is now a demographic used in advertising, merchandising, and so forth. Whether good or bad, the public wants to see these stories brought to life.
This movie doesn't go far enough with its story to be effective for me to be moved by it. I've seen it done before in different contexts. The performances from the cast, except for Corrin, all came across as wooden and unemotional to me. This should have been a passionate story of forbidden love, but it wasn't. It was relatively boring, and I didn't know much about the characters at all. As the younger wife, Corrin was the only one who brought anything to her character. That's too bad because this movie had potential.
Aside from the performances, the film looked very good. I like the period aspects, and the production value was okay. I've seen it done better in another Styles film earlier this year. The director Michael Grandage decided to use a back-and-forth style of filmmaking based on the screenplay by Ron Nyswaner. The film goes from modern-day England to back in the 1950s. The modern-day stuff didn't work at all. It was slow and tedious and just uploaded along with brooding characters and one who couldn't even speak or walk. I would have rather seen the film stay in the past. There may have been more to unravel in this time regarding the legal activities in which the characters were involved.
My Policeman has some things that are unforgivable to me. It lacks the passion it needed in certain scenes that would make up for the slow, boring parts. The acting isn't very good except for Corrin, and the star Styles is just going through the motions. He should stick to singing. The film's overall look wasn't bad, but it wasn't enough to overcome the bad things about it. The director used a script that didn't have any emotion, which made the movie emotionless as well. This subsection of people deserved a better film to represent them, who they are, and what they are about.
My Policeman is now in theaters and streams on Prime Video beginning November 4.