Thursday, 4 June 2015

REVIEW - QUEEN AND COUNTRY (JOHN BOORMAN)


The inessentiality of John Boorman's Queen and Country is emphasised by one non-diegetic detail: it's the unplanned sequel to Boorman's own moderately successful Hope and Glory, 27 years later. The years haven't been as kind to Boorman as they might have been, and what magic he may have been capable of conjuring in the 1980s seems to have dissipated - Queen and Country is an awkward, ramshackle sort of film, torn between a number of impulses that ought to fit together far more cohesively than they do here. At another seminal moment in 20th Century history, our protagonist - a newly politicised, and not entirely for the better, Bill Rohan - undergoes education through experience once more, potentially life-changing events related through the analysis of a left-leaning lad. The film's semi-autobiographical nature doesn't excuse its didacticism, alas, and as such Boorman is unable to filter the portentous events he depicts (Queen Elizabeth's coronation, the apparent encroach of nuclear war etc.) through a narrative of any identifiability. The film is that bit too disconnected, its characters too distracted themselves, and their own narratives too distracting. Between each of the subplots that Boorman attempts to uphold, he crafts not one into the kind of solid structure that might uphold any significant interest, and the fragmentation that occurs is only exacerbated by the strange variety in the quality of performances from the cast. Additionally, scripting (or perhaps just the line delivery), staging, cutting and scoring all pull up their own concerns, resulting in a disjointed and, indeed, inessential film, destined to be forgotten perhaps in 27 weeks, never mind 27 years.