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‘For Queen & Country’

By Rita Kempley B
Washington Post Staff Writer
June 23, 1989


Martin Stellman
Denzel Washington;
Amanda Redman;
George Baker
Under 17 restricted

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The dull British drama "For Queen & Country" is your basic life-is-a-ptomaine-sandwich movie, and for its doomed hero, every day is just another big, indigestible bite.

Denzel Washington, last seen as "The Mighty Quinn," stars in this soldier's homecoming story, an ineffectual rant against social injustice from first-time director Martin Stellman. Washington, with his Meryl Streep-worthy cockney accent, fends his way through this gloom-sucking thriller, an unrelievedly grim and predictable portrait in housing-project ve'rite'. As Reuben, a medal-bedecked veteran of the Falklands war, he has a rude reentry into civilian life -- no hero's welcome, no job, not even a passport. (His citizenship was revoked with the passage of an immigration law in 1981.) Confronted with racism, crime and grime, the stoic Reuben finds solace in the arms of the cowlike Stacey (Amanda Redman). Then his apartment is trashed, Stacey leaves him, and his loathsome war buddy Fish (Dorian Healy) loses his electricity.

And yet it's as if nothing ever happens. "For Queen & Country" is suspense-free, a laboriously paced look at the poor man's impotence in an unjust society.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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