Queen and Country
In 1952, 18-year-old Bill Rohan (Callum
Turner) goes off the boot camp where he prepares for deployment in the Korean War. He and his mate,
Percy (Caleb Landry Jones), teach new recruits how to use typewriters. They both must deal with the
domineering Sgt. Major Bradley (David Thewlis) and Major Cross (Richard E. Grant), who believe
they're responsible for stealing a clock from the mess hall. Meanwhile, Bill develops a romance with
a mysterious student (Tamsin Egerton)---he doesn't even know her name, but she agrees to let him
call her Ophelia. Soon he brings "Ophelia" to meet his mother, Grace (Sinead Cusack), father, Clive (David Hayman, and sister, Dawn (Vanessa Kirby)
Light, funny, breeze and charming
are rarely words that one would associate with a film that takes place during wartime.
Writer/director John Boorman, though, has succeeded in creating a sequel to Hope and Glory
that works as a delightful comedy and sweeping drama with a tiny dash of romance with a few surprises along the way. The screenplay boasts many witty lines in a manner that doesn't feel uneven when juxtaposed with the dramatic scenes; with the lesser talented writer/director the screenplay would have been an atonal mess. In other words, Boorman finds just the right tone for the film.
Casting directors Laura Grosu and Jina Jay deserve to be commended for selecting such a fine ensemble cast of main and supporting actors. David Thewlis is superb, as usual, and has impeccable comedic timing. The same can be said for Callum Turner and Caleb Landry Jones whose natural, charismatic performances provide much authenticity. The film's greatest strength is, above all, its humanism and warmth which, unlike CGI, are truly special effects seldom found in cinema these days (on a side note, CGI should be re-named standard effects because there's nothing special about them anymore). Those feats alone should be reason enough for you to see Queen and Country.