NINETEEN-year-old Jason and Ade have been in the Academy of a famous London football club since they were eight years old. It's the night before their first-ever game for the first team - a Champions League match - and they're in a hotel room in Romania. They should be sleeping, but they're over-excited. They skip, fight, mock each other, prepare their kit, watch a teammate's sex tape. And then, out of nowhere, one of them kisses the other. The impact of this 'pass' reverberates through the next ten years of their lives - a decade of fame and failure, secrets and lies, in a sporting world where image is everything.

ILLAN toinen elokuva, The Pass, käsitteli vaikeaa aihetta. Valitettavasti elokuvan tenhoa vähensi se, että kaikki tapahtui pääasiassa kahden ihmisen dialogina pienessä tilassa. Kieltämättä Tovey oli roolissaan erinomainen, ja vanhuskin jaksoi seurata elokuvan alusta loppuun ilman piristeitä.

YOU could tell them to get a room – but they’ve already got a room. Russell Tovey and Arinzé Kene give excellent performances as two young footballers in this intimate, intelligent drama. It has the episodic form of a well-made stage play, and in fact started life as a theatre production at the Royal Court in London. The structure lets you stand back and see the way an entire life can pan out in misery and denial. The homoerotic tension is unbearable as Jason (Tovey) and Ade (Kene), two players in a Premier League club’s youth squad, share a hotel room abroad the night before a big game. They are hanging around in their pants, bantering, wrestling.

THEY know only one of them can be picked for the main team, and each worries that the other, in a certain situation, will selfishly go for a glory-chasing shot at goal rather than make a pass. Then there is another kind of pass. Five years later, we see one miserably alone with a lapdancer, Lindsey (Lisa McGrillis), and five years after that the pair are grimly reunited. This is a world in which admitting your feelings or your sexual nature feels like weakness and professional defeat. The film is a bit stagey sometimes, but ambitious and insightful. Tovey is excellent as he shows someone progressing from innocence to fear and then to loneliness. 

HIDASTEMPOINEN ja pelkälle keskustelulle perustuva elokuva ei varmastikaan ole kaikkien makuun, mutta joskus on hyvä pysähtyä katsomaan tälläistäkin. ■