Journey's End

Journey's End

(2017)

In the face of fear, they found strength in each other.

Sam Claflin is among a group of British officers awaiting their fate in an Aisne dugout in this WWI drama based on the play by R.C. Sherrif. From the director of The Duchess.... More

March, 1918. C-company arrives to take its turn in the front-line trenches in northern France, led by the war-weary Captain Stanhope (Clafin). A German offensive is imminent, and the officers and their cook distract themselves in their dugout with talk of food and their past lives. Stanhope, meanwhile, soaks his fear in whisky, unable to deal with his dread of the inevitable. A young new officer, Raleigh (Asa Butterfield), has just arrived, fresh out of training and abuzz with the excitement of his first real posting, not least because he is to serve under Stanhope - his former school house monitor and the object of his sister’s affections. Each man is trapped, the days ticking by, the tension rising, and the attack drawing ever closer.Hide

Flicks Review

If Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk was a widescreen panorama of one battle, Journey’s End is an uncomfortable close-up of another. The story has existed as a play since 1928 (ten years after the events it depicts) and might feel familiar after four prior film adaptations (also the fourth season of Blackadder is heavily indebted, right down to the jokes about gross food). But there’s a reason it has persisted: it’s a bloody good story and a neat summary of why war is hell.... More

The film focuses on a group of British officers in the trenches, all well-drawn, and played by fantastic actors. Sam Claflin is a Captain slowly buckling under huge pressure, and Paul Bettany is all warmth as a Lieutenant literally dubbed ‘uncle’. It’s great to see Bettany in this type of role where he gets to be gentle and have a twinkle in his eye—he excels at them.

The film takes advantage of its stage roots by playing up the claustrophobia of the officer’s dugout. From there, it’s a slow descent into anguish, the British stiff upper lip starting to quiver when faced with overwhelming odds. As soon as audience surrogate Asa Butterfield bounds onscreen you figure it’s not going to end well for him, a naive young Lieutenant sold a lie and full of vim and vigour. Rounding out the cast are two more heavyweights: Toby Jones (if you’ve seen Blackadder Goes Forth, he’s essentially playing Baldrick), and Stephen Graham.

It can’t be said that this is a fun time at the movies, but it’s a top-notch character piece. It honours the men who fought in World War 1 simply by showing the horror of their situation, then asking the audience how they would fare in a similar position.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

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The Press Reviews

  • An outstanding cast savours performing a play that has stood the test of time. Avoiding sentimentality, this is a valuable rejoinder to those who would sugar-coat mass slaughter. Full Review

  • A robust, sinewy production that honours the film's enduring themes and proves that it has stood the test of time. Full Review

  • Keep calm and carry on, right past the marquee. Full Review

  • This version of Journey's End may not offer any new perspectives into its subject matter but it is made with a commitment and intensity that stop it from ever seeming old fashioned. Full Review

  • Dibb's film at times feels of a piece with Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, from the oppressive immediacy of the camerawork to the heavy, droning soundtrack. Full Review

  • Claflin and Bettany stand out among an impressive ensemble in a harrowing, powerful WW1 drama well worth enduring. Full Review

  • Few stage staples from 90 years ago would easily translate to the screen today, yet R.C. Sherriff's once near-ubiquitous "Journey's End" proves potent as ever in this sturdy new adaptation... Full Review

  • This isn't a kinetic World War I tale, a la Gallipoli. Instead, it's a slow-burning character drama (populated by a terrific ensemble), that bursts into action, before delivering some truly memorable emotional fireworks and a haunting coda. Full Review