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“Queen and Country” Romance and Dignity (Indie Film Review & Trailer)




Review by John Delia

Spooling out his final film Writer/Director John Boorman makes it a sequel and a good one at that. His Queen and Country being released in the United States takes his characters into the 1950’s as a follow up to Hope and Glory set during WWII. He works his magic one more time with interesting characters, some comedy, military boot camp drama and a whole lot of romance. Beautifully filmed, it’s a masterpiece of a period gone by that saw England transfer the crown to Elizabeth II and turn boys into men.

The story opens with Bill Rohan (Callum Turner) now in his late teens getting called up for a two year stint by the British Army. The conflict in Korea has escalated and they need men to take on the fight. His time in boot camp is just long enough to become friends with Percy Hapgood (Caleb Landry Jones) a ladies man who never turns down an opportunity for romance. It’s also the place where they meet Regiment Sgt. Major Digby (Brían F. O’Byrne) a staunch officer that rules the recruits with a hard hand.

Tamsin Egerton as Ophelia and Callum Turner as Percy in Queen and Country

Tamsin Egerton as Ophelia and Callum Turner as Bill in Queen and Country

It’s not long before Bill and Percy are assigned to teaching new recruits secretarial skills at Regiment Headquarters and avoiding a trip to Asia. So begins a friendship, home base hardship under Sgt. Major Bradley (David Thewlis) and romance with a couple of nurses, Sofia (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) and Peggy (Miriam Rizea), and the mysterious Ophelia (Tamsin Egerton).

David Thewlis as Sgt Major Bradley (ctr) in Queen and Country

David Thewlis as Sgt Major Bradley (ctr) in Queen and Country

Writer and director John Boorman takes his audience into the 1950’s for a close look at how his characters attempt to survive a regiment teaming with strict orders. He makes the film a period piece with flamboyant homes, fifties costumes and British military uniforms from the past. With cameras wide, close up and sometimes narrow we see the splendor that was England post World War II.

The acting takes center stage with Callum Turner as Bill transitioning into a man as he fills his duty as a soldier. He finds love in Ophelia played by the gorgeous Tamsin Egerton a mysterious woman who toys with Bill’s affections while hiding a secret. The two exude a lot of chemistry together and bring back the romance in film of days gone by.

The comedy delivered by Caleb Landry Jones as Bill’s partner in ‘crime’ Percy makes the story a good buddy movie. He’s the tough teen who wants recompense for the indignities of the obstinate British leaders. But things cool down when British nurses get his attention and put him back on a smoother military track. When a prank goes awry however, we find Jones’ Percy sinking without a life raft.

Queen and Country has not been rated by the MPAA, but does contain language, nudity, brief sex and smoking.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A cool period piece with just enough comedy to offset the military drama. (B+)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Callum Turner, Vanessa Kirby, David Thewlis, Richard E. Grant, Caleb Landry Jones, Tamsin Egerton, Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Miriam Rizea, Sinéad Cusack, David Hayman, Brían F. O’Byrne, Pat Shortt and John Standing
Directed by: John Boorman
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, contains brief nudity, some sex and language
Running Time: 1 hr. 55 min
Release Date: March 27, 2015
Distributed by: BBC World/Music Box

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