There is a scene in Michael Grandage's My Policeman where Patrick (David Dawson) describes all love stories as tragic. Upon hearing this, Marion (Emma Corrin, looking quite similar to Elisabeth Moss) holds Tom's (Harry Styles) hand and says, "I hope not." Taking a cue from these lines, this is precisely how I would describe My Policeman: A tragic love story until it isn't.
It's the 1950s, and homosexuality is a crime. In this wretched world, people like Patrick have to go to an underground club like criminals to have a good time. One day, Patrick meets Tom, a policeman, and falls in love with him. Tom is filled with curiosity. He wants to learn about art and read books. The former desire is fulfilled by Patrick as he works at a museum. As far as the latter is concerned, Marion has got that department covered. She is a schoolteacher, so Tom thinks of her as a bookworm. He is not wrong in his assumption. Marion helps him with books, and he teaches her how to swim.
Soon, both Patrick and Marion fall in love with Tom. Tom loves Patrick and likes Marion. Of course, Tom marries Marion to "protect" himself, but that doesn't stop him from going to Venice with Patrick. And what does Marion do when she finds out about the two boys? After she notices them touching one another, she takes Tom upstairs and has sex with him. That sex is her way of assuring herself that her husband is straight and that Patrick is influencing Tom "wrongly" because he wants to break up their marriage.
At first, the movie leads you to believe that Patrick is attracted to Marion. That he is coming in between her and Tom. But your notion regarding this love triangle changes when you notice Tom's sketch in Patrick's apartment. And then, you have Patrick's diary, which simply reveals everything.
The use of a diary to reveal the story is nothing but a very lazy storytelling choice. I am not dismissing this trope entirely. I am merely pointing out that it's poorly employed in this movie. Patrick's diary becomes a convenient device to conjure exposition and conflict. It's not like My Policeman does anything significant with either exposition or conflict. This heartbreaking romance has a feeble pulse and is of a meh quality. Two passionate lovers are separated, and your heart wonders, "But where's the ache?" Only the sex between Tom and Marion stirs some emotions because one of them participates in the act out of duty (Tom considers Marion to be a wonderful person, and he does not want to make her unhappy).
The story fails to ignite any feelings. So it's up to the actors to do the heavy lifting. They deliver nice performances, but it's not enough to sustain this movie. The title is inspired by Patrick's way of referring to Tom in his diary, which indeed sounds romantic. However, the film itself lacks a beating heart and is so impersonal that it leaves you cold and dry.
Final Score- [4.5/10]
Reviewed by - Vikas Yadav
Follow @vikasonorous on Twitter
Publisher at Midgard Times
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