Journey’s End – the Wednesday film – is a quietly magnificent – and hugely respectful – testament to those we must not forget.Posted on 3rd November 2018
Journey’s End (12A)
While watching Saul Dibb’s superb adaption of R C Sherriff’s masterpiece, I found myself being continually astonished that the play on which it was based was written only 10 years after the First World War ended. Simon Reade has done a fine job of massaging the text, but the unflinching, brutal narrative remains Sherriff’s, who based his play on his real-life experiences in the trenches.
Central to the film’s success is a brilliant cast. Sam Claflin is the heroic, but broken, Captain, self-medicating on whisky. Paul Bethany is the wise, measured Lieutenant, known by everyone as Uncle. Self-deprecating scouser Stephen Graham has worked himself up through the ranks, while impossibly young Asa Butterfield is straight out of public school. Tom Sturridge is as terrified as Toby Young is sanguine – the list of clearly delineated and distinct characters, each performed with faultless precision, is extraordinary.
The film has opened up some of the action – we get to see the desperate raid on enemy trenches – but its great strength is in the claustrophobic tension of the trenches, as these men squabble and drink and simply shuffling about, boredom vying with fear, as they wait for the cathartic release of their journey’s end. Journey’s End is a quietly magnificent – and hugely respectful – testament to those we must not forget.
By David Vass