Queen and Country Screen 13 articles

Queen and Country

2014

Queen and Country Poster
  • There's nothing remotely revisionist about Queen and Country, much less any rancor, primarily because Boorman insists on enshrining his young protagonists' struggles as not merely meaningful instances of revealing the human condition, but _essential_ moments of identity formation that are conspicuously, and problematically, tied to national identity.

  • Anyone coming to Queen & Country with the expectation of seeing old friends will be gravely disappointed. On the other hand, if you’ve never seen Hope And Glory, or can just put it out of your mind, the new film makes for a perfectly enjoyable service comedy, playing like a defanged British version of M*A*S*H that never actually gets to Korea.

  • More than anything else, Boorman has always been a mythmaker (even Deliverance has a primal pagan flavor), and has never been deft at comedy, so this relaxed, casually plotted, and often adorable nostalgia-farce wilts with a deficit of raison d'être. There's no Blitz or Arthurian drama here, just killing time.

  • Sight & Sound: Philip Kemp
    June 05, 2015 | July 2015 Issue (pp. 84-85)

    All of this could make for a rich mixture – or an episodic clutter. Regrettably, Queen & Country veers towards the latter, at times feeling like chunks of an army-sitcom TV series cut down to feature length. It's saved from inconsequentiality, though, by the warmth and nostalgia of Boorman's regard, and his vivid recreation of an awkward, flailing, post-war Britain, struggling to come to terms with a bewilderingly changing world.

  • It’s a film of minor incidents, warmly recalled and sketchily dramatised.

  • Set a decade on from “Hope,” during the Boorman surrogate’s compulsory military service, “Queen” never reaches the lyrical heights of its predecessor — arguably one of the greatest of all films about childhood and war — but benefits from a vividly realized sense of time and place and a gallery of colorful supporting characters burnished with the warm glow of memory.

  • Amid the heartache, grand romantic gestures, plummy accents and writhing theatrics from Caleb Landry Jones, what really stands out in Queen and Country is the emergence of new British talent Callum Turner. It's not a performance of chest-beating physicality or grandiose monologuing, but one of subtle expression and potent intimacy, enriched by humour and youthful vigour.

  • "Queen and Country" [is] moving in its accrual of period details—experiencing a new kind of cinema during a date viewing of "Rashomon," watching the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on TV—without offering much distinctive or new.

  • Boorman has written and cast these roles with a twinkle in his eye, but no one gets caught playing to the gallery; the film's visually a little pedestrian, but it's not dull-witted. It takes shape as an institutional comedy in the boisterous British tradition of Porridge or If..., though its closest filmic model might be the 1988 Mike Nichols version of Neil Simon's conscript-training romp Biloxi Blues.

  • A hugely pleasurable follow-up to the director’s autobiographical 1987 Hope and Glory... I found the film deeply moving, perhaps because in the loving re-creation of postwar England and intimations of a country on the cusp of a new era Boorman’s nostalgia and gentle sense of loss are so unabashed and sincere, and his filmmaking still so vital.

  • Fantasy has always played a crucial role in Boorman’s cinema, though it’s especially affecting here (as it was in Hope and Glory) because it carries the weight of lived experience. This is the now 82-year-old filmmaker casting a hard glance back at himself through a deceptively whimsical lens. There’s never a moment when Queen and Country isn’t a joy to watch.

  • Given its loose-knit narrative, the film doesn’t have anything like a conventional structure. Yet it’s steadily engrossing due to Boorman’s surpassing skills as both a storyteller and a director. Indeed, “Queen and Country” could serve as a master class on how to build interesting characters in even the smallest roles, and how to stage scenes with a maximum of expressiveness, elegance and economy.

  • Boorman, now 82, has rarely directed more fearlessly. He displays masterly command and élan as he mixes languid and staccato rhythms with lush or lowering atmospheres. In a typical offhand feat, he turns marching drills into musical-comedy choreography. He never loses sight of his overarching subject—the human comedy.

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