John Boorman’s “Queen and Country”

MOV_QueenandCountry_2440Queen and Country is a quant film about a lad who discovers some basic things about life, love, and lost. Directed by the great John Boorman, who crafted one my favorite films, Point Blank (oh the jazzy colors) I went into this with high expectations. Though Boorman is known for his Hollywood works here in the states, he has also done a lot of British TV.

Right off the bat, filmmaking is wonderful, gruesome, and often thankless work, and I want to thank the filmmaker for his contribution to cinema with regard to his elderly statesman status of the (American) new wave of the late 60’s and 70’s. Now on with the review.

three-stars15Queen and Country felt like a love letter to the golden age of cinema, time, and love, nationality that will never return. Many references abound in the film (blatant) even the camera work are all odes to such a time. And I think that’s what’s makes the film so charming and elusive. One minute you are really into the sweeping gestures, but the story, at least to me, felt stilted. I could not relate to the characters at all and their classically bohemian  middle class life disrupted by a war and their boyish angst. Maybe it’s the american in me, who knows. But I do know, or pay mind to, the fact that I might not have been the target audience and for that I don’t fault him or highly criticize. But there were moments in the film that lacked cinema luster and played to TV audiences.

The story goes there is this young man enlisted who doesn’t fight or pick up a gun but trains for war and desperately seeks ways to avoid it. This same sergeant teaches soldiers how to type on a typewriter (very different indeed) for combat journalism. He falls in love, but remains an idealistic youth who somewhat rebels as far as his social class will let him. He is accompanied by his good buddy, who both get into mischievous trouble. Like kids, they fall in love and as the story goes on he learns things, blah, blah, blah. We’ve seen it before but not from a more tender side. This might be where I got my qualm for the film.

I’m leaving major elements out because as the viewing audience you should see the film. I mean its Boorman and it’s a sequel (which I haven’t seen). Lots of ideas to be explored and subtext abound, more so than American Sniper.  A shame really.

But in the end I personally wanted more. As a master of his craft this was solid filmmaking but again it felt like it was made for TV and very episodic in nature.

Queen and Country opens the Friday in:
San Francisco at The Opera Plaza
Berkeley at Shattuck Cinemas

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