Le Week-End: DVD Review
From writer Hanif Kureshi comes this tale of an English couple heading back to Paris to relive their honeymoon some 30 years ago.
Broadbent is Nick, and Duncan Meg - and it's clear from the moment they're on the Eurostar that there's a strain in this relationship. Meg clearly detests the man after years together, but Nick is wilfully oblivious, taking each barb as something to be mocked rather than viewed with caution.
Conflict is the raison d'etre of their marriage in later life and on most things, they appear to be opposed to all things the other proposes - but things take a turn when the pair bump into Jeff Goldblum's Morgan, who looked upto Nick during his time as a university lecturer.
Soon, Meg's finding herself part of a social swirl and Nick is finding himself a little confused as to what's going on.
Le Week-End showcases a marriage that some will find too familiar and others will be horrified by; Duncan plays the cruel cold wife with ease, and Broadbent's affability leads to the feeling that Nick's charm has worn off years ago. 90 minutes in their company seems to lead you to feel that you've been married to the pair of them as well - with little happening on screen other than bickering and sniping, it's hard to warm to either of them as they swan around Europe's most romantic city (the irony of which is not lost).
Thankfully, a change of pace comes with the arrival of Morgan, but it's a little too late to really fully save the day for the pair as the rot is setting in. Throw in some concerns about whether a son will return home to roost and the tensions are a-plenty; Michell makes a reasonable fist of Kureshi's slightly depressingly familiar screenplay and the actors give it their all in what feels more like a play than a movie.
All in all, Le Week-end has moments which feel like they're influenced by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy's characters in Linklater's films, but without quite the light deft writing; granted, there's a touch of something beneath the veneer but it's hidden by a typically grey British sheen that makes it hard to love, but easy to appreciate.