Starring: Sam Claflin, Paul Bettany, Asa Butterfield, Stephen Graham, Toby Jones, Tom Sturridge, Robert Glenister
Director: Saul Dibb
Running time: 107 mins
BBFC Certificate: 12A
In 2014 the 100th anniversary of WWI began, and since then we’ve had a plethora of films, documentaries, tributes and dramas about the Great War. Most have been excellent, some middling, but it’s an exhaustive list, and some would say exhausting. However, this version of RC Sherriff’s play deserves to be seen, tired as you may be with war films. It’s released to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 1918 spring offensive, and is a noble addition to the list of films dealing with the great conflict.
It’s a version of Sherriff’s play that sticks to the script – for the most part. There are some added four-letter words which he never wrote, and which add little to the power of the piece. Meanwhile some lines about cricket, Alice in Wonderland and drinking have been cut. However it conveys, like the play and the fine 1988 TV film, the regimen of the men on the front, the nervousness, the routine, sometimes the boredom, and certainly the sheer terror of being in a trench 60 yards away from the German fortifications – “the width of a rugby field”. [Read more…]