Urban Cinefile
"At one table you have got Clint Eastwood, another table you've got Brenda Vaccaro ..celebrities just everywhere - and the pizza is sensational"  -Jackie Collins on Hollywood's famous eatery, Spagos
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday December 13, 2018 

Search SEARCH FOR A REVIEW
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

JOURNEY'S END

SYNOPSIS:
Set in a dugout in Aisne in 1918, it is the story of a group of British officers, led by the mentally disintegrating young officer Stanhope (Sam Claflin), as they await their fate.

Review by Louise Keller:
The horrors of war are on display in this tense and affecting film in which we are taken in the trenches and into the lives of the men who wait for the inevitable. Based on a 1928 play by R.C. Sheriff, the subject matter is sombre but the story is rich. We get to know the men who find themselves in the thrust of war. Director Saul Dibb has made a sensitive film, made all the more effective by the outstanding music score with its musical question marks and soundscape that constantly unsettles.

We get a sense of being there and in particular, we become involved in the lives of three men, who are at different stages of their lives and whose responses are totally different. Their behavior highlights their strengths and weaknesses; the telling interaction between them brings the emotional potency to the film. Hard-hitting and moving, Journey's End is a powerful film about war, the experience of war and the impact it leaves behind.

It is Spring 1918 and the German attack that becomes known as the Spring Offensive is about to take place. We are told that every company spends six days each month at the front line. Those critical days are the focus of the story.

It is through the eyes of the na•ve Second Lieutenant Raleigh (superbly portrayed by Asa Butterfield) that we enter the front line, replete with mud, lousy food and nervous soldiers. Thrown into the deep end, his enthusiasm and grand hopes are quickly quashed, first and foremost by his commanding officer, who was his inspiration to join Company C. Captain Stanhope (Sam Claflin, at his best) is his role model and a family friend. We understand his disillusionment as Stanhope shows himself to be a weak man retching his self-loathing as he relies on alcohol to get him through the day. ('I can't bear being fully conscious all the time').

By contrast, Paul Bettany's Lieutenant Osborne is the true hero: a conscientious soldier (everyone calls him 'uncle') and man whose high standards and respectful treatment of his men is an inspiration to all. The interaction between the three men offer the film's best and most powerful moments.

'What about after it happens?' Raleigh asks about the horrific events about which everything is thinking and dreading. He does not have long to wait. We are there when it is raining bullets and we see the mask of fear that is painted on the men's faces. This is a tough film, elevated by the human stories and superb performances that bring the characters to life.

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

JOURNEY'S END (M)
(UK, 2017)

CAST: Paul Bettany, Sam Claflin, Stephen Graham, Tom Sturridge, Alais Lawson, Andy Gathergood

PRODUCER: Guy de Beaujeu, SimonReade

DIRECTOR: Saul Dibb

SCRIPT: Simon Reade (play by R.C. Sherriff & Vernon Bartlett)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Laurie Rose

EDITOR: Tania Reddin

MUSIC: Hildur Guonadottir, Natalie Holt

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Kristian Milsted

RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Icon

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 8, 2018







© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2018