A director who knows exactly what he wants and is able to give precise instructions to his actors can achieve perfect results with people who have never before acted. Give him actors who are badly trained yet have much experience and even enjoyed popularity among their peers, and that director will have a mess on his hands. Substitute another director, one who has little idea of what he wants or how to achieve it, and the mess is even larger. “Queen of Earth” is such a mess. That a small movie can be a such a big mess is proof of its gluttonous incompetency.
Although Alex Ross Perry is credited with both writing and directing “Queen of Hearts,” he cannot honestly be called either a writer or a director, his skills in both departments being nil. His cinematographer, Sean Price Williams, has an eye for photographing water, but not much else. And his editor Robert Greene might benefit from the instruction to avoid placing a dimly lit bit of moodiness between two shots taking place in a room flooded with light. A director is supposed to oversee this kind of stupidity and put some order to the chaos, but Perry is some other kind of director.
He is the kind of director who mistakes the extroverted emotionalism of a spoiled brat for great acting. And when acting is this good, it doesn’t even need a script. Just turn the actress loose and let her rip. Both of his leads are dreadful actresses, with co-producer Elizabeth Moss, who starred in his previous film, “Listen Up Philp,” substantially worse than Katherine Waterston, who has never worked with Perry before. There is not a coherent scene between the two of them, which causes our perception of their relationship, as well as the events that transpire during the course of the movie, to be inadequate to the understanding of what it is all supposed to mean.
Of course, a pretentious ass like Perry will hide behind the cloak of ambiguity, insisting that reality is fluid and impossible to comprehend, but it is his writing and directing that is incomprehensible, not reality.