Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Unconditional

This quintessential gritty British drama is set in a working class suburb of Newcastle where in a tower block of council flats two teenage twins are carers to their disabled mother. Living hand to mouth on welfare payments Kristen applies for a small loan to buy a few wee luxuries which means she gets a home visit from Liam a rather charming Loan Officer. Kristen who is desperate for a boyfriend practically throws herself at this handsome stranger, but its her brother Owen that he has eyes for.

He later contrives to casually bump into the young man in the street and invites him out for a drink which leads onto a lad’s night out. When they are both quite drunk, they end up at Liam’s glamorous bachelor pad where he dares Owen to dress like a woman. When the reluctant Owen finally obliges, Liam takes him to a fancy restaurant and treats him like his girlfriend.

Owen is impressed and flattered by the intense attention he gets from this older and more sophisticated man and though totally unsure of his own sexuality lets Liam take his virginity.  This results with Liam declaring his unconditional love for Owen and demanding that he returns the complement. Owen is clearly confused with all of this, and with the added pressure of keeping all this secret from his twin with whom he is used to sharing everything.

Every time that Owen is hesitant in either donning yet more women’s apparel or returning Liam’s constant declarations of love, then the older man instantly loses his temper and gets both verbally and physically abusive. He loves Owen but only when he is masquerading as a woman and cannot bear to kiss or touch him when he is wearing men’s clothing. 

It is obvious that this is not going to end well, and frankly it’s difficult to watch as the relationship spirals out of control. Psychopathic Liam’s massive mood swings totally unnerve and really scare the vulnerable Owen who is uncertain of his own feelings and is  never sure to deal with him.

With its somewhat uncomfortable subject matter that it touches upon although it never completely explores, this is still an impressive feature film debut from TV director Bryn Higgins.  His protagonist Liam, played so beautifully by Christian Cooke (‘Cemetary Junction’) is one damaged, volatile individual and it took the talented young Harry McEntire (‘Eric & Ernie’) to imbue such innocence into his portrayal of Owen that we could be so convinced that he would have sustained the abusive relationship as long as he did.

A powerful drama well told.
 

Posted by queerguru  at  01:43

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Genres:  drama

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