RELEASED IN FROM THE SIDE
(Cert 15, 135 mins, Verve Pictures, available from November 28 on Amazon/BT TV Store/iTunes/ Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, also available from November 28 on DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £19.99, Romance/Drama)
Starring: Alexander Lincoln, Alexander King, Will Hearle, Peter McPherson, Alex Hammond, Pearse Egan.
Mark Newton (Alexander Lincoln) plays in the B squad of the South London Stags gay rugby team alongside secretly smitten best friend Henry (Will Hearle), whose relationship with alcohol is verging on abusive.
At an away fixture in Cardiff, Mark catches the eye of A team stalwart Warren Hunt (Alexander King), who plays alongside his long-term boyfriend John (Peter McPherson).
A spark of sexual attraction ignites a passionate encounter, but Warren already knows John and Mark’s open relationship with wealthy boyfriend Richard (Alex Hammond) is predicated on never sleeping with anyone in their respective social circles. Regardless, Mark and Warren continue the affair and when their betrayal is exposed, the two men face the shattering consequences for their relationships and the rugby squads. Written, directed and edited by Matt Carter, In From The Side scrums down with a predictable and overlong portrait of forbidden desire that is kicked into touch by a classic sporting underdog story replete with final match day showdown.
Lincoln and King are handsomely matched and Carter’s camera lingers on the two actors in sexuallycharged couplings including a hook-up in a nightclub toilet that begins a steady drip feed of negative gay stereotypes.
A lack of emotional depth to the lead couple dump tackles any sympathy for Mark or Warren and engaging peripheral characters like Will and fun-loving prop Pinky (Pearse Egan) are largely sin binned unless they are operating as plot devices.
Rugby sequences are beautifully choreographed and photographed, including lustrous slow-motion shots of mud-caked masculinity. Battles on the pitch are more engaging that melodrama in the changing room. Rating: ***