In 1987 John Boorman directed Hope and Glory. It was a semi-autobiographical account of a young boy growing up in London during The Blitz. It earned him Academy Award nominations for Best Film and Best Director. 27 years later he returns with the sequel, Queen and Country, which takes the story forward 9 years to the period after the end of World War II.
During the Korean War, Bill Rohan (Callum Turner) is drafted into the army. He makes friends with carefree troublemaker Percy (Caleb Landry Jones) and the pair are given the job of training typists on an army base. With little interest in the war, the pair spend their time chasing girls and looking for diversions. They fight a daily battle with Sgt.Major Bradley (David Thewlis),a stickler for the rules, and along with an orderly (Pat Shortt), do as little as possible. As their pranks threaten to catch up with them, Bill find himself enchanted by the mysterious Ophelia (Tamsin Egerton).
Whilst Queen and Country is mostly played for laughs, Boorman makes several important points about the effect of war and how we deal with the aftermath; albeit fairly subtly. It’s a film which grows in stature the more you dwell on it. There’s a brilliant performance from David Thewlis along with a smile-inducing cameo from Richard E Grant. Queen and Country is a great film, but the fact it’s so understated may count against it at the Box Office.
Queen and Country if out in cinemas on Friday.