Queen Of Earth is a strong drama about how long-term friendships don’t always last. This will happen to all of us at some point. You’re inseparable or, at least, can’t imagine life without them, and then circumstances pull you apart and so when you get back together, time has moved on, opinions change and for one reason or another, the friendship is coming to an end. It’s sad when someone decides they no longer want you in your life, but what can you do about it? Not a lot. It’s the antithesis of Mariah Carey’s Anytime You Need A Friend, because any time you need one, they won’t be there.
(And surely, the title should be “Any Time You Need A Friend”, as ‘anytime’ is two words sandwiched together. The dictionary disagrees. Let’s move on…)
Personally, I don’t aim to lose any friends. You can always learn something new from everyone, and you don’t make too many new real friends as you get older.
The film is spread over the course of a week as Catherine (Elisabeth Moss) is taking a break away from her home while her soon-to-be-ex-husband, James (Kentucker Audley), is moving out after having an affair. Over the course of this time, her long friendship with Virginia (Katherine Waterston) is tested as the latter spends an increasing amount of time with her part-time love Rich (Patrick Fugit), and, while staying at Virginia’s parents’ summer house, you find out more about what makes Cath tick as the film goes on.
In addition, there are flashbacks to a year earlier when Catherine was still together with James, with Virginia speculating on what would happen if they split up because they appear so co-dependent and, there’s some great dialogue, such as when back in the present, Catherine states she’s in a “self-perpetuating cycle of defeat” which she can’t get out of, while Virginia adds: “It’s one of the worst tendancies of human nature – to assume the best of others”.
Queen Of Earth features a powerhouse performance from Elisabeth Moss, plus great support from Katherine Waterston and some intriguing direction as, quite frequently, the camera forcuses solely on one face, during a two-person conversation.
There’s also an interesting moment when Catherine helps a drunk man into her friend’s house and quips “I could murder you right now and nobody would know…”, and it shows that it is strange the things you could do, which no-one would know about.
As to who the Queen of Earth is, I think you find out, but it is bizarre overall, even right to the end where you get some very strange credits, appearing at random places on the screen in an italicised font.
The film is presented in the original 16:9 (1.78:1) widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition and while it looks a little hazy on occasion, I think that’s down to the filming process. I haven’t been able to find out how it’s been shot, but I can tell Alex Ross Perry isn’t the most conventional of directors, so I would suspect that shooting on film is something he would do.
The audio is in DTS HD 5.1, and while it’s mostly dialogue that’s there for the ears, there’s an intriguing score that sneaks up on you from behind, taps you on the shoulder and says “BOO!!”, not least in the occasional ‘humming’ sound in the background.
There isn’t too much in the way of supplementals – a Behind the Scenes (7:11), looking at the shooting of one scene; a trailer (1.19) and an audio commentary with Alex Ross Perry and Elisabeth Moss. It could do with more extras, but on the other hand, it’s been a swift transition from cinema to Blu-ray and DVD, having only been released on the big screen on July 1st. I can imagine it would’ve looked very impressive that way, but it’s still stunning on your own TV, especially if yours is 50″ like mine.
The menu is static and silent, the subtitles are in English, but… there’s a low and strangely odd-numbered count of chapters with nine. Yes, nine. They’re not even set at the position of one per day of the week, which is plain odd.
Queen Of Earth is out now on Blu-ray/DVD double pack, and click on the packshot for the larger version.
Running time: 90 minutes
Cat no.: EKA70217
Released: July 11th 2016
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio (Mono)
Widescreen: 1.78:1 (16:9)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Alex Ross Perry
Producers: Elisabeth Moss, Alex Ross Perry, Adam Piotrowicz and Joe Swanberg
Screenplay: Alex Ross Perry
Music: Keegan DeWitt
Catherine: Elisabeth Moss
Virginia: Katherine Waterston
Rich: Patrick Fugit
James: Kentucker Audley
Keith: Keith Poulson
Michelle: Kate Lyn Sheil
Groundskeeper: Craig Butta
Warlock: Daniel April
Party Guest #1: Will Clark
Party Guest #2: Mia Heiligenstein
Party Guest #3: Elisabeth Arndt
Party Guest #4: Katherine Fleming
Party Guest #5: Morgan Skrabalak
Party Guest #6: Lily Garrison
Party Guest #7: Adam Piotrowicz
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.