If you joined in the masses googling the monarchy whilst scanning through new episodes of 'The Crown' in November, you will be somewhat troubled to experience a movie showcasing Prince Charles' testicles. However, after recent BAFTA nominations I'd longed to experience this modern day Yorkshire affair behind BFI movie "Gods Own Country". With such a unique and brutal tale reflecting farming agriculture, I wished to unveil this deep connection between the two isolated men on screen.
Josh O'Connor transfers into his screen roles like musician Queen performed on stage. He trusts his every movement conveying emotional raw talent from every crease. You're instantly aware of Johnny's agony in the opening scenes of the title with him spitting beer at locals whilst drowning in loneliness. It's a wonderful comparison then to see him progress and later caress Gheorghe delicately in the bath. The actor makes no mistake in portraying his ability to play diverse characters in this multifaced role.
Being Francis Lee's debut feature, the director expresses pure bravery in his ability to place fear in the viewers eye. His choice to show violence and danger in the camera angles all shadow a feeling of venerability. As an audience member you're torn not wanting to witness the cutting of rabbit skin from the lens, but equally mesmerised by the sheer truth behind the tale. Both characters intimate playful relationship is rare and heartwarming, a beautiful insight into the truth about queer relationships for the camera.
Having the film set in the grassy planes of damp Yorkshire was ideal for the simplistic narrative. By never drawing on the outside world made Josh's dedication for maintaining his grandparents farm became more pressurising. The directors choice to not compare his friends lives also made their relationship more focused and distinct. There's a beautiful scene between Josh and Gheorghe, whilst sleeping in a soaking hut repairing a nearby farm wall, when actor Alec tries to break Johnny's aggression by tightly embracing him. It was a turning point for sympathising with the characters insecurities.
GODS OWN COUNTRY
With a tiny handful of powerful actors, Alec Secareanu felt deflated as the Romanian migrant worker in the script. Without a major backstory to focus on, other than his passion for British agriculture and working in Scotland, it gave his character less purpose for being with Josh's family. If the director had storyboarded moments about his previous hardships with a vision of his past, their connection could have proven even stronger.
A roaring feature, one that grasps onto British roots and heritage through the land in one of the most hypnotic romances for many years. The performance of both men circles around an understanding for queer love across the UK in places were being openly gay isn't merely as acceptable compared to our main cities. Director Francis Lee created an outstanding piece in emitting fire for his passionate caring debut.