Ben Oliver

Banner image for A Royal Night Out

A Royal Night Out

Are you foreign? We’re German, you know.
03 May 2015

A light-hearted comedy-drama following Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth (now the Queen) on VE day. They manage to get permission from the King and Queen to leave for the evening and go out into the ‘real’ world ‘incognito’. The two get split up and capers ensue.

A Royal Night Out is entertaining but doesn’t quite do enough to make a lasting impression. The short time frame can work, but here the film drags on as director Julian Jarrold struggles to stretch this out to 90 minutes, unable to find enough interesting material in just one evening.

At one point it looked like we were about to embark on some cool, well rehearsed long takes like in Birdman or something pretty like Anna Karenina. Then things swing towards a dull little romance between Elizabeth and Jack, an airman she meets along the way. That sort of goes somewhere but it’s not very interesting.

It’s not all bad. The set design and the cinematography have a dark, poorly lit aesthetic, it is the war after all, but it’s also warm and slightly surreal. This reflects the nature of the film: based on reality but not trying to kid anyone.

The initial promise of a well thought out, funny & emotional fish-out-of-water comedy gives way after about twenty minutes. What lies beneath the surface is a bland, run-of-the-mill period piece and some truly horrendous attempts at accents.