Clapham Junction [TV]
DIRECTOR: Adrian Shergold | WRITER: Kevin Elyot | CAST: Joseph Mawle, Luke Treadaway, Paul Nicholls, Rupert Graves, David Leon | UK
“If in Act I you have a pistol hanging on the wall, then it must fire in the last act.” Kevin Elyot took Chekhov’s words a wee bit too much to heart when he wrote Clapham Junction, Channel 4’s curious choice “to mark the 40th anniversary of decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales”. The film follows the actions of several gay men — in the closet and out — over a day and night and the following morning in the old, too familiar “everyone is connected to everyone else” way that’s such a tired formula for this kind of movie. And true to form we get all the usual types, although unfortunately there are no drag queens, bears, leathermen, or any of the more outré stereotypes.
The film focuses on the kinds of love and/or sexual relationships gay men have, from anonymous encounters in public toilets to civil unions. In fact, a gay civil union ceremony and the seeds for its dissolution happen almost simultaneously at the very beginning of the film. To my mind, the only relationship that we get to see that looks like it might actually be based on affection and friendship is the one most likely to offend even the friendliest of well-meaning liberal straight people: an (idealized) emotional and sexual bond that develops between a paroled sex offender and the achingly horny schoolboy across the way.
The actors do as well as can be expected with the material, with the standouts being the two playing the idealized lovers, Joseph Mawle (Tim) and Luke Treadaway (Theo), although David Leon as Alfie (a young man new to the big city) and Rupert Graves as Robin are quite good too. Adequate directing, surprising number of shots of you know, especially for a made-for-telly flick.