qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

  • Music:

To Play The Queen

Last night uitlander and I were among the younger members of the audience (as I have observed often though not always seems to be the case) at Reading Film Theatre as it screened The Queen. I have been considering whether there is a better word than clever to describe the film, but I think that is the best. It's elegant too, of course; modest in its own unreal frame of reference, witty and satirical. Helen Mirren is excellent, but the other members of the cast all play their parts well too. One or two scenes remind me (and probably quite intentionally, though in which direction I am not sure) of The Royle Family, but it's never tasteless. The Blairs do come over quite convincingly as shallow and vulgar; the Windsors dignified though lacking in some understanding, in their splendid isolation. Afterwards, uitlander mused on the significance of the stag: I don't know whether there is supposed to be an interpretation of that - the idea of the hunt, the pursuit of one animal by another, fate, suffering, who knows?

Perhaps, though, my reaction to the film is no more than a reflection of my own views on the personalities anyway. I still think of the Queen selling Socialist Worker, Spitting Image-style. I wouldn't go out of my way to describe myself as a Royalist, but if we assume that an alternative Head of State would come from the political establishment, I think we could do rather worse than the present arrangements. I didn't mourn Diana; a tragic death for those around her, but only one of how many thousands killed on the roads by dangerous driving every year. Like 9/11 or the Boxing Day tsunami, it was impossible to escape the collective gloom deposited on us by the media, but in less globalised times we would have carried on with our lives quite satisfactorily without the news.

The soundtrack was also effective. One might have expected Michael Nyman for such an archetypal Brit-Flick, but Alexandre Desplat's score, led by the harpsichord, gave the right atmosphere of grace, formailty and anachronism.

Perhaps the only bit which seemed a bit forced was the reference to "legacy" in the final meeting between the Queen and her Prime Minister, very topical in these months but perhaps less likely for the autumn of 1997, but overall, the film constructs its characters and details very plausibly.
Tags: film
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