In 1987, John Boorman seduced Oscar voters with his autobiographical comedy drama, Hope And Glory, and garnered five nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
The defiantly unsentimental film relived Boorman’s memories of the Blitz through the eyes of a nine-year-old boy called Bill Rohan.
Queen & Country continues the misadventures of Boorman’s fictional hero, unfolding almost 10 years later when Bill has come of age and can now serve his country.
Any affection for the 1987 picture sours as it becomes painfully clear that this second traipse down the filmmaker’s memory lane is an emotionally underpowered family portrait, beset by awkward shifts in tone and uneven performances.
Bill (Callum Turner) lives on an island in the River Thames with his parents Clive (David Hayman) and Grace (Sinead Cusack), grouchy grandfather George (John Standing) and free-spirited sister Dawn (Vanessa Kirby).
The young man enlists in the army and prepares other fresh-faced recruits for the Korean War.
Any affection for the 1987 picture sours as it becomes painfully clear that this second traipse down the filmmaker’s memory lane is an emotionally underpowered family portrait, beset by awkward shifts in tone and uneven performances
‘They’ll have their work cut out, making a soldier out of you, pipsqueak,’ jokes one of the Rohan clan.
Bill and trouble-making pal Percy (Caleb Landry Jones) engage in a battle of wits with Sergeant Major Bradley (David Thewlis) and their despairing superior, Major Cross (Richard E Grant).
As England continues to rebuild and heal wounds in the aftermath of the Second World War, Bill and Percy discover that their tomfoolery has unexpectedly devastating consequences.
Meanwhile, Bill struggles to sustain a foundering romance with a posh ice maiden called Ophelia (Tamsin Egerton).
‘Don’t expect anything from me, William.
‘I’ll disappoint you,’ she counsels.
Ophelia might as well be talking about Boorman’s film.
Queen & Country is a crushing disappointment.