Journey's End (2017 film)
|Directed by||Saul Dibb|
|Written by||Simon Reade|
|Based on||Journey's End|
by R. C. Sherriff
|Produced by||Guy de Beaujeu|
|Edited by||Tania Reddin|
|Music by||Natalie Holt|
|Box office||$1 million|
Journey's End is a 2017 British war film based on the 1928 play Journey's End by R. C. Sherriff. Written by Simon Reade and directed by Saul Dibb, it was screened in the "Special Presentations" section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. The story follows a young James (Jimmy) Raleigh who signs up for the war under the command of his old school chum, Stanhope. The conditions in the trenches have forced Stanhope to resort to the bottle, but Raleigh is hardly phased by any of it. Intel says that the Germans are bound to attack the line in Northern France any day.
- Asa Butterfield – Second Lieutenant Raleigh
- Sam Claflin – Captain Stanhope
- Paul Bettany – Lieutenant 'Uncle' Osborne
- Tom Sturridge – Second Lieutenant Hibbert
- Toby Jones – Private Mason (The Cook)
- Stephen Graham – Second Lieutenant Trotter
- Robert Glenister – The Colonel
- Andy Gathergood – The Sergeant-Major of C-Company
- Miles Jupp – Captain Hardy
- Jack Holden – Bert Turner (Cook's helper)
- Eirik Bar – Soldat Ernst Schäfer (German prisoner)
New to the film
- Rupert Wickham – General Raleigh (Jimmy's uncle)
- Alaïs Lawson – Angèle (French mother)
- Rose Reade – Margaret (Jimmy's sister)
- Nicholas Agnew – Corporal Pincher
- Jake Curran – Signaller Hammond
- Tom Ward-Thomas – Hardy's subaltern
- Derek Barr – Transport officer
- Harry Jardine – Ration soldier
- Theo Barklem-Biggs – Private Watson
- Jack Riddiford – Private Evans
- Elliot Balchin – Private Peters
- Adam Colborne – Private Graham
The young Second Lieutenant Raleigh (Asa Butterfield) is sent to the front lines of the war, the trenches in Northern France. He requests of General Raleigh, his uncle, that he be sent under the command of Captain Stanhope (Sam Clafin) of C Company, a man who he knew from school. Stanhope used to vacation with Raleigh and his sister Margaret. Stanhope has taken to heavy drinking to numb himself to the horrors of his war situation. Raleigh is greeted by a nice older gentleman, Lieutenant Osborne (Paul Bettany), who asks to be called 'Uncle'.
At any moment, the Germans could launch an offensive, what would come to be known as the German spring offensive. Some intel from a deserter gives away the planned German attack on Thursday March 21, 1918. To act preemptively, Stanhope is given the command to send two of his officers and ten men in a daytime raid across no man's land. The officers chosen are the trusted Lieutenant Osborne and the new officer, Second Lieutenant Raleigh. Only four men and Raleigh return alive, with one German prisoner.
On March 21, all men are on duty. The shelling and mortaring begins. The British soldiers can barely see or hold onto their guns through all the dust and debris. Raleigh's back is heavily wounded. Stanhope takes him down below ground and lays him on a bed. He comforts the dying man and covers him with a blanket just as Raleigh complains of being "too cold" and breathes his last breath. Stanhope emerges from the dugout in shock as the artillery explodes around him.
Fast forward in time—the Germans, in gas masks, are seen surveying the captured trenches, with the bodies of the British strewn around dead and motionless.
Back at home, Margaret finally receives the post from her brother, the one he sent just after having arrived on the front lines.
The proposed film was first announced in 2014, with the intention that it would be part of the British commemoration of the First World War centenary. It was to be produced by Guy De Beaujeu, and was originally planned to be directed by David Grindley, who had previously directed a frequently revived stage production of the play. Production was delayed by uncertainties over who held the film rights to the play in United Kingdom and Ireland—it was thought to be Warner Brothers but, following pressure from Prince Andrew, it was found that those rights had lapsed in 2008.
The rights were due to be signed over to Fluidity Films on 2 June 2014, at which time the film's producer confirmed that the ideal cast might include Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston and Eddie Redmayne, but that no actors had yet been approached. Further press information in December 2016 announced that the cast would include Paul Bettany, Tom Sturridge and Toby Jones, and that the film was due for release in 2017. It was released on 8 September 2017. The film received a wider theatrical release in Spring 2018, the centenary (100 years) of the German spring offensive, the events of the German attacks which it depicts.
Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 91% based on 101 reviews as of 11 April 2021[update], with an average rating of 72%. The website's critics consensus reads, "Journey's End brings R.C. Sherriff's 90-year-old play to the screen with thrilling power, thanks to director Saul Dibb's hard-hitting urgency and brilliant work from a talented cast." Aggregator Metacritic gives the film a metascore of 73 (out of 100) based on 28 critic reviews as of 2021[update], indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Soon after the film's initial release, Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter commented that "the film serves to illuminate how very different the British army – or any army – was then, with its class distinctions and comparatively polite conversational modes, and how differently wars are now fought." Dennis Harvey of Variety said, "The convincing physical production is shot in muddy earthtones by Laurie Rose and is well accentuated by an original score of urgent, mournful strings."
After the film's wider release, Simran Hans of The Observer gave the film 3 stars out of 5 and writing, "Sam Claflin is particularly good as the boozy, brooding Captain Stanhope, whose intensity, belligerence and self-loathing flesh out what might in less capable hands have been a clichéd, shell-shocked soldier." Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film 4 stars out of 5, calling it "expertly cast and really well acted: forthright, powerful, heartfelt."
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- Denham, Jess (2 June 2014). "Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston tipped to play officers in Journey's End movie". The Independent. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
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- McCarthy, Todd (18 September 2017). "'Journey's End': Film Review | TIFF 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
- Harvey, Dennis (19 September 2017). "Toronto Film Review: 'Journey's End'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
- Hans, Simran (4 February 2018). "Journey's End review – handsome first world war drama". The Observer. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
- Bradshaw, Peter (1 February 2018). "Journey's End review – horror, humour and humanity in the trenches". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 7 February 2018.