Kerry Meech 11/10/2006
The media's fixation with the royal family is a relationship, which has remained throughout the reign of the monarchy, as one which seeks to expose the inner workings of a institution we will never know. Throughout cinematic history many a director has sought to capture the mood and bond of the royals, however our present monarch has never been afforded this privilege…until now.
The Queen traces the decision made following the aftermath of Princess Diana's death in August 1997, decisions which were swiftly deemed inappropriate by the press and the grieving public. Tony Blair's newly appointed New Labour also figure significantly, chiefly as the frustrated good guys who prevail in making the Queen see sense. Although much of the film is based on assumptions and speculation as to how the royal family conversed during the time, you cannot help thinking that you are peeping through the keyhole, this is in part to the tremendous performance by Helen Mirren.
Mirren commands the screen; whether it be through her witty dialogue when inviting the nervous, jittery Blair to be Prime Minister, or her introspective scenes in Scotland when she realizes she is losing her public. Such is her skill that she is able to take the instantly recognisable figure of the Queen and make it her own, without shattering the persona and suspicions which surround her.
Great performances are aplenty in this film although it does have to be noted that perhaps a little more could have been done in the make-up department, Alex Jennings especially looked nothing like Prince Charles and sounded at times like an over excited Frank Spencer. However here lies the beauty of this film, its ability to trick the informed audience, who know they are seeing a piece of fiction, into believing what they are seeing regardless of appearances.
I have to admit that I was rather dubious about the prospect of watching, what I supposed to be, a stuffy interpretation of the week that 'shook' Buckingham Palace, but I was pleasantly surprised by the funny innuendo and overall interpretation which graced the screen. Well worth a watch, even if you are a Republican.