After Adam inherits a country house from his great uncle, he and his friend Rufus decide to spend the summer there instead of abroad. An odd assortment of 'house guests' turns up through ... See full summary »
Journey's End is a famous play set in the last months of the first world war. It shows the embattled lives of British Army officers in the trenches. The play tells the story in the officers' dugout over four days from 18 March 1918 to 21 March 1918 before a major planned offensive by the Germans.
This BBC television film opens out the play. Jeremy Northam plays Stanhope, an officer who is burned out, he has turned to alcohol but continues with his duties and refuses to take the leave he is entitled to.
He is joined in the trenches by a new and naive officer Raleigh who has requested to be sent to Stanhope's company. Raleigh went to school with Stanhope and their families know each other. However Stanhope is not pleased to see him and berates him. Raleigh cannot understand his edginess or that Stanhope is behaving the way he is because of the cumulative effect of the war, losing people close to him. Stanhope is a paragon and he drinks to forget that he has lost people like Lt Osborne.
Timothy Spall plays the avuncular Lt Trotter who lets nothing seemingly bother him. There are good performances by Edward Petherbridge as Lt Osborne and George Baker as the Colonel. It is an early starring role for Jeremy Northam who in the 1990s was groomed for stardom but maybe luck fell on Colin Firth and Hugh Grant instead.
The film works better because it has been shot on film, where the dim lighting in the dugout gives it atmosphere. The film contrasts the class differences. Despite the war, the fatalities, the officers enjoy good food, good whiskey and waited on by the lower ranks.
The film can still appear to be dry as it does not stray too far from its stage origins.
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