DIRECTOR: STEPHEN FREARS
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Affonso Beato
MUSIC: Alexandre Desplat
CAST: Helen Mirren as The Queen, James Cromwell as Prince Phillip, Alex Jennings as Prince Charles, Michael Sheen as Tony Blair
Somehow, I don't think that even the real queen is going to sit here with you, and have a cigar watching this film.
But she might have a really good laugh at it all. And specially enjoy how many think she is a humorless boring person, which is doubtful and has on occasion shown itself. I actually don't blame her. One can not fault a performance, or a film ... but could a woman, any woman be that silly, un-feeling or un-caring? Or humor-less? I doubt it. Maybe someone should check out some of the witty exchanges that Spike Milligan attributes to her, and he appears to be the only one who ever speaks to her ... where others are speaking at her!
And that may be what this film is really all about ... not really ... but it does make good fodder for a movie. Well, I suppose that some money could be involved in the whole adventure, but what the heck. But really, I would think that this film might have a bit more appeal in another 20 years, when one could do it up better and even have an actor play Elton John!
I'm not sure this movie would have gotten anywhere if it had not been for, either the performance of one of the best actresses of our time ... or the steady hand of a director who had a pretty good idea of what he wanted to do, specially when it came to help the actress ... just lay waste to everything around him ... in other words ... just flat out make sure that she is the center of the world and attention … just like old times for these kings and queens. Or Hollywood, for that matter, but I digress. My apologies!
But it takes a good director that can help smooth out things and find the moments ... and help stretch the ones that are big when they show up ... and by far .. this is the best part in this film. It just seems that very few moments are wasted and the film seems to be well cut in that things are actually smooth in the transitions ... one does not really feel out of place ... or what is THAT when something happens that is just “filler” in a film. And this is rare in today’s films.
Well ... until the glorious last seconds of it all ... when we get an opinion that really says it all about this film, or its events ... it may be important for some ... but it all lives on as it has forever before.
I thought that the relationships and the scripting for those around the Queen, was a bit forced, from the overly symbolic 14 point buck which is more important to the men than the events and even the Queen or the other women ... which is – needless to say – something that most of these royals are familiar with and something they probably would not abuse, even in private family outings ... maybe in private with one person ... but that maybe an imposition on my part, and a reflection on what could be a seriously demented comment … about a group of overly rich people who have nothing else more important to do.
From this standpoint it is possible that the Queen is made to look shy and afraid to say anything. But the events that take place force her hand ... she has to do/say something about the Princess Diana situation. In the end, it is what she didn't say that makes this performance so important .. and perhaps Elizabeth's mark on her reign ... anything said ... is not enough ... it will never be, specially for this age of the media exploitation of everyone's every word and letter.
What do we have?
An unbelievable performance by Helen Mirren ... no doubt about it.
A very dedicated directing effort to center things properly and not have so much possible material at one's hands that the performance and attention to the Queen's feelings and reactions end up left behind, or at least seemingly less important. The film never does that and it helps make Helen Mirren's performance even stronger. For my dime, one more moment with Prince Phillip bitching, or Prime Minister Blair upset that she has to say something ... would just about make this a Hollywood bickering device ... and less realistic. And it probably would undermine Helen Mirren's performance.
But the best is at the end. And I think the Queen knows it ... and there is nothing malicious about it ... it's just an editorial from a dog's point of view! And it stands up wonderfully ... in the middle of this splendor and all this commotion ... the dog has to have his moment!
So do we. And this film is worth it.
3 GIBLOONS. Helen Mirren is excellent but I would rather catch her as the Prime Suspect investigator!
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