19 October 2006

Review: The Queen

Genre: Historical Drama

Stephen Frears surely hit ice, when he first began to chip away at this ambitious project. Luckily for us the fractile shards that fell were so finely huned that there is almost nothing to criticize about this work.
Indeed, The Queen is the first exceptional film of the year, with strong performances riding its smooth, serene screenplay from its very first frosty pinnacle to its very last, temperate end. For both the actors who worked on the film and for the crew, the film was undoubtedly a tremendous success and for the public, in the still resonant wake of Brokeback Mountain, yet another example of how extraodinarily powerful simple tranquility can be. The screenplay, unlike so many of today's screenplay's, correctly refuses to tie its arms behind its back in obtuse complexity; instead, it undulates beautifully in restraint. All the actors could do for it was align themselves to its rhythm, and the adept Ms. Mirren is so studied and accurate at this alignment, that it's disconcerting at times. Her relationship with the here brilliant Mr. Cromwell writhes in exquisite discomfort, and for Mr. Cromwell, it has been quite some time since he last found such a rewarding match. Even Mr. Frears' direction, which can usually be said to effectively efface any emotional virtue from a film by its almost masochistic restraint, could not break the well wrought cadence; it can actually be best described here as transmuted by the rhythm to feel confident.
Yes, I was hard-pressed to find an area for which to offer a meaningful critique. Even the musical score was so inspired a piece of composition that I nearly applauded the speakers. (It was in my opinion the best part of the film; kudos, Mr. Desplat.) So, I will say only this: I wished that Mr. Sheen had made his Tony Blair seem a little less exasperated by everyone.

Grade: A-

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