I Believe The Future (Television Thoughts: Years and Years, BBC One/HBO)

yyI have been meaning to watch ‘Years and Years’ for a while now, even before it aired on HBO. Firstly because of Russell Tovey, and second because its creator, Rusell T Davies, also did ‘Queer As Folk’ years ago, so I thought this would have substantial queer content (it has) But then I read this article from The Guardian warning me that this is the worst time to start watching the series. When this global pandemic started, I had seen numerous people saying that what we are experiencing now was covered in this show, so I was more than curious to start watching.

So the verdict? Well, don’t follow The Guardian. The series is not scary in a horror kind of way, but it will suck you in and make you think about what is happening in the world. It is also an addictive soapy series, and once you start watching, you will be hooked. It is about the Lyons family, and while the series starts in 2019, it goes up to 2032 and we see what happens to the world along those years (and years)  Russell Tovey indeed is a charmer here, as the gay brother, and I admit I was drawn to his storyline the most. We see him at the beginning of the series married, but falls in love with an illegal alien from Eastern Europe, and we see them get together, be taken apart because of British Immigration laws, and then we see him try to get Viktor back tot he UK, with disastrous results (I dare you not to cry at their fate)

But Emma Thompson steals the series from everyone, playing Vivienne Rook, a politician quite unlike a figure we all can recognize: an oily snake salesman who promises everything but is only out for herself. The series lights up whenever she is on, and if there is a God she should win everything for the series.

Does it make the future scary? Perhaps it does, but you can see that while the world spins to a lot of change, it also spins to make everything go back, as is what is happening right now.  We just need to embrace and adapt.

 

Pass and Touch (Movie Thoughts: The Pass)

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‘The Pass,’ directed by Ben A. Williams, was adapted for the screen by John Donelly, from his hit p lay at Royal Court. While I did not see the production, I have read that his adaptation is pretty faithful to his original work.  The resulting movie is a little claustrophobic, to be honest, and its wideness doesn’t help it – at times the action left me a little bored, and a lot of the British slang went over my head. But make no mistake, this is a great and important piece of film, and it is anchored by two fine performances – Russell Tovey (Jason) and Arinze Kene (Ade)

The film is broken in three portions, all five years apart: the first third is set in 2006 in a hotel room in Bucharest – both Jason and Ade are holed up before a game in the morning, and clad only in their underwear, verbally spars with each other. But all sense that there is more as the tension – sexual above all – is insurmountable, and you just know it will have to combust at some point. And it does. The film moves to five years later as Jason gets embroiled in a sex video scandal with a stripper, in his elaborate plan to beard in order to hide his sexual orientation. The last third is set in another hotel room, as he and Ade face each other again after ten years.

I loved the last part most of all, as it turns very emotional and both characters have to deal with their emotions – unrequited, unexpressed, unfiltered. Tovey is a marvel here – giving a richly textured performance of a man who has to hide behind a machismo persona. But I think what makes his performance work is because he has to react to kene’s subtlety – his glance here, his look there sometimes says more than the long dialogues, which sound stage-y a lot of times.  I found myself thinking about these characters a lot, and what would happen to both. This film has some limitations, but overall it will touch you.