For Queen and Country

For Queen and Country

***

Reviewed by: Gabriella Trybalska

For Queen and Country is a gritty compelling drama about one man's struggle to come to terms with life outside the army.

Denzel Washington, in a low-budget British film, is a sight to behold as he plays Reuben, the ex-paratrooper, who, after serving in Northern Ireland and the Falklands, retires to his old life on civvy street in London. Essentially the film is about his struggle to be accepted back in to the community and the troubles he has to face.

Life is easy-going at first, despite the odd racist threat from the neighbourhood yobs and the police. However, he slowly realises that despite his interest in a local girl (Amanda Redman), he cannot continue to live on the derelict estate, where drug dealing has become part of everyday life for his fellow ex-paras (Dorian Healy and Sean Chapman). The problem begins to effect him as he is talked into acting as a henchman in a drug exchange with another ex-army friend.

The plot courts controversy as Reuben discovers that, thanks to a new piece of legislation, he is no longer deemed a British citizen, despite having served for queen and country. This minor problem is glossed over as he decides to return to his place of birth in St Lucia. Before he can leave, he must say goodbye to his best friend and his brother. This is the point in which the film suddenly changes form slow paced drama into a "how did that happen" thriller.

It is a curious choice that Washington, who achieved critical acclaim for his role as Steve Biko in 1987's Cry Freedom, would participate in an inexpensive British film that requires him to put on an occasionally convincing London accent. However, he pulls it off and provides a convincing performance.

This strange recipe of Hollywood star, as the downtrodden Londoner, and local actors Redman and Craig (Eastenders) Fairbass only serves to make an otherwise abysmal attempt at a political statement all the more enjoyable.

Definitely one to watch for Washington fans.

Reviewed on: 25 Jan 2002
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Denzel Washington plays ex-British paratropper who comes to terms with life outside the army.
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Director: Martin Stellman

Writer: Martin Stellman, Trix Worrell

Starring: Denzel Washington, Dorian Healy, George Baker, Craig Fairbass, Amanda Redman, Sean Chapman

Year: 1989

Runtime: 101 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK/US

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