In this sequel to Hope and Glory (1987), Bill Rohan has grown up and is drafted into the army, where he and his eccentric best mate, Percy, battle their snooty superiors on the base and look for love in town.
The hilarious highlight of John Boorman's HOPE AND GLORY (1987), nominated for 5 Oscars: 9-year-old Bill Rohan rejoices in the destruction of his school by an errant Luftwaffe bomb. QUEEN AND COUNTRY picks up the story nearly a decade later as Bill (Boorman's alter-ego) begins basic training in the early Fifties, during the Korean War. Bill is joined by a trouble-making army mate, Percy. They never get near Korea, but engage in a constant battle of wits with the Catch-22-worthy, Sgt. Major Bradley. Richard E. Grant is their superior, the very, very, infinitely put-upon, aptly-named Major Cross.Written by
Karen Cooper, Director, Film Forum
Writer and director John Boorman introduced us to some of these characters back in 1987 with the marvellous war time tale – 'Hope and Glory'. Bill is now ten years old and has been sent off to do his National Service – only we are now involved in the Korean War (which still limps on to this day – peace never having been formally agreed). He and his mate Percy though end up stuck in base camp teaching the typing pool.
Life in the camp is far from fun and games and the strict Regimental Sergeant Major and Sergeant Major make their life a bit of a hell – so they create diversions, shenanigans and go chasing the girls near the base by way of diversion. However, as with all diversions – whether on camp or elsewhere – there will be consequences.
Now this is a very well made film, period detail is great etc. The make up is all good and the acting is generally very good. Caleb Landry Jones as Percy Hapgood though struck me as miscast – his accent is unplacable (perhaps as he is American?); he does the emotion well but seems a bit unhinged – which may indeed have been the point. David Thewlis is probably the most stand out performance as the irritatingly unlikeable Bradley – and shows how broad his acting abilities are. Overall though a very good film and if you were a fan of the original, then you will probably want to see – but the jokes are much thinner on the ground here, but it still has a vibrancy that evokes the time and the passion in an endearing way.
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