Natasha Tripney’s review of the book in The Guardian, she describes the Marion and Patrick points of view, saying that the “possessive note is the key to their tragedy and it’s telling that the man so desired by them both remains voiceless, distant.” That is not the case in Grandage’s film, adapted for the screen by Ron Nyswaner (“Philadelphia”), in which Tom is very much a real person but still feels “voiceless, distant,” a slippery, elusive character.
There is a gulf between the older Tom and the younger Tom in “My Policeman,” in both writing and performance, as there is with all of the younger and older characters in the film.
Older Tom is bitter and taciturn, avoiding his wife by taking long walks on the sea wall with his dog. Roache’s Tom is a far cry from the soft, open youth played with a sense of innocence and naïveté by Styles, a beautiful, unknowable cipher unable to be possessed by either Marion or Patrick.The marked difference between the two men over the course of 40 years signifies the ways in which the decades of enduring brutal homophobia have hardened Tom into someone brittle and abrasive, but there’s no connective tissue, performance-wise, between Styles and Roache.
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