This is the predominant question which sets the drama for The Pass, written by John Donnelly and directed by Ben A. Williams. It's a story of two teammates and childhood friends who (it turns out) share a deep attraction for one another. Beginning in a Romanian hotel room before a Champions League game, where the erotic tension between Jason (Russell Tovey) and Ade (Arinzé Kene) is almost too much to bear, the story stretches over ten years as Jason and Ade go their separate ways and each take a different approach to their homosexuality.
The differences in approach aren't taken up deliberately, though. In any competition there's going to be a winner and a loser, and it's this fact – that one of them succeeds where the other fails in becoming a top-flight footballer – which sets a course where one can accept his sexuality and the other must hide it. In the big leagues, 'gay isn't an option'.
The Pass was first produced as a play at the Royal Court Theatre, unsurprising considering the focus on dialogue and the single-room locations. The benefit of this is a tremendously intense experience, watching Tovey and Kene expertly convey close friendship and reluctant love as moments of youthful banter give way to tension and fear. Tovey especially, as Jason, displays innocence, desperation and despair as he struggles to reconcile his career, image and life with his true nature.
It may be the case that the adaptation from
theatre to film has left The Pass coming across as somewhat stagy: its exploration of issues only happens through dialogue, and it would be
good to see these characters actually playing rather than just hear about it.
Nevertheless, this is an incredibly sensitive and moving account of a
taboo which still exists in sport, and the sacrifices some make to reach the very top.
|What||The Pass film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
09 Dec 16 – 09 Feb 17, Times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more details|