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Queen & Country: Coming of Age in the Army 

Wednesday, Feb 25 2015
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John Boorman's Queen & Country begins with one of the best scenes from his autobiographical 1987 picture Hope & Glory: Discovering their London school has been destroyed in a Nazi bombing, the children are ecstatic, one of whom shouts to the heavens, "Thank you, Adolf!" From there Queen & Country fades-forward nine years later, as Glory's Boorman-analog Bill (Callum Turner, unborn when the first film was made), is about to begin two years of conscripted army service. Following Bill as he comes of age amidst wacky noncombat shenanigans, the picture is upfront about being a sequel, but it may play better for those who aren't attached to the original film, and as service comedies go, it never builds the emotional resonance of Talya Lavie's recent Zero Motivation. The main characters in army comedies often aren't as interesting as those on the sidelines, and in spite of how obvious a pairing it is, this is the first live-action film to star both David Thewliss and Richard E. Grant, here portraying the unit's stuffy authority figures. It should be a meeting of powerhouses up there with DeNiro and Pacino in Heat, and while Thewliss and Grant have their moments together and apart, Boorman never properly exploits this stellar conjunction. Hopefully, someone else will be inspired to use them right.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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