Jayson Bend: Queen and Country sees gay super-spy Bend (Davis Brooks) team up with his Swiss counterpart (Tom Read Wilson) to stop the launch of a satellite that will make salon chain owner Raymond Perdood (Paul Norton) the most powerful man in the world.
If that synopsis wasn’t enough the trailer will definitely give you a taste of what’s to come: A joyful peek into a world of gay secret agents, bad guys trying to take over the world and more puns than you could shake your weapon at.
While the creation and execution of the film has been a labour of love for Director Matt Carter, (who worked on almost every aspect of production – check out the number of times his name comes up in the credits) don’t for a second think that this is some tin-pot film shot in someone’s shed one weekend – this is a slick and sexy piece of filmmaking. Every scene is set and shot beautifully, from shadowy concrete bunkers housing Perdood’s lair (and echoing to the obligatory maniacal laugh that Norton pulls off so well) to the headquarters of the Royal Intelligence Ministry in London, proving that although this project didn’t have a huge budget, not a penny was wasted.
Slickly-paced and clocking in at a rather short 49 minutes, Bend doesn’t feel as if it’s lacking in any key areas – there are no weak links, no ropey shots or awkward extras – instead it does everything it needs to, unhurried, professionally and with a cheeky grin. Much like the titular spy himself.
While Bend’s tongue is very firmly in his cheek (or someone’s cheek, anyway), it’s never to the detriment of the believability of the movie as a whole: Brooks, Wilson and co. don’t ham it up pantomime-style, instead managing to draw the audience into this world of silly names (Katya Kokov is a personal favourite) and sexy men with ulterior motives.
The entire cast shines, from our two valiant heroes whose interplay is as tense and as sexy as one could hope, to the evil trio who revel in their nefarious ways with just the right amount of malicious glee.
Carter’s vision of a gay superspy is no Austin Powers parody; there are no sly winks to the audience, instead a cleverly-created world that hangs together beautifully, dancing along the line between self-aware spoofery and po-faced serious drama. Well, as serious as you can be with a vibrator that doubles as a grenade and smoke bombs disguised as condoms.
Overall Verdict: While many have tried to answer the question of how a gay secret agent would work (SpyBoy, anyone?), I think Matt Carter and his team have given us a pretty perfect answer. Jayson Bend: Queen and Country is a beautifully-realised and gloriously silly love letter to the world’s greatest secret agent. Personally I hope the franchise continues and we see a string of Bend movies, ensuring absolutely no entendre is left undoubled.
Seems only fitting, really.
Reviewer: Scott Elliott
Jayson Bend: Queen and Country has will have its star-studded international debut as the opening film at this year’s Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff, and will be followed by a live Q&A session with Matt Carter and the cast. Tickets are available here.