Queen and Country

Review by Adam Woodward @AWLies

Directed by

John Boorman

Starring

Caleb Landry Jones Callum Turner Vanessa Kirby

Anticipation.

Hoping for a late-career barnstormer from veteran director John Boorman.

Enjoyment.

Sweet, sentimental Sunday teatime viewing.

In Retrospect.

Inconsequentially pleasant.

British veteran John Boorman returns with a jolly follow-up to his beloved Hope and Glory.

Children cheering in the rubble and scattered books on the site of a freshly bombed school in wartime London. It’s a familiar opening scene, and it should be, having been quite literally recycled from director John Boorman’s semi-autobiographical Blitz charmer, Hope and Glory, from 1987. Queen and Country, an unofficial sequel, resumes the story of Bill Rohan, now preparing to join the army as a young man.

With Her Majesty’s finest off fighting the Commie front in Korea, Bill (Callum Turner) and his fellow platoon mates are desperate for a taste of the action. But with their deployment indefinitely delayed, the boys grow increasingly disenfranchised with the monotony of regimental life, and thoughts quickly turn to matters on the homefront. Enter Ophelia (Tamsin Egerton), the striking posh slice with whom our Bill falls hopelessly in love. From the moment he notices her, he sees pain in her eyes, and sure enough it is revealed that she is a damsel in distress. But the more Bill chases her, the more inevitable it seems that his heart will be broken.

It’s not all pranks and puppy love, however. Like Terence Davies doing Dad’s Army, Boorman’s film has a darker edge than it might first appear. Amid the heartache, grand romantic gestures, plummy accents and some writhing theatrics from Caleb Landry Jones, there’s also David Thewlis’ tender and wonderfully understated performance as the shell-shocked soldier. But 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.

Published 4 Jun 2015

Anticipation.

Hoping for a late-career barnstormer from veteran director John Boorman.

Enjoyment.

Sweet, sentimental Sunday teatime viewing.

In Retrospect.

Inconsequentially pleasant.

Read More

Famous directors who fell in love with Ireland

By Matt Thrift

The story of how a trio of legendary filmmakers became entranced by the Emerald Isle.

My Nazi Legacy

By Sophie Monks Kaufman

Two German men confront the sins of their fathers in this exceptional documentary.

review LWLies Recommends

War on Everyone – first look review

By Adam Woodward

Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña put the “blue” and “line” in thin blue line in this salty buddy cop comedy.

What are you looking for?

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, LWLies has been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.

Editorial

Design