Journey’s End takes place towards the conclusion of World War I, for a few days from Monday, 18th March 1918 onwards, in St Quentin, Northern France.
There’s a stalemate, and the Germans want to break this. It’ll mean an attack from their side, but as each company of soldiers must spend 6 days, out of each month, on the front line, who’ll be there when it all kicks off?
With James Raleigh (Asa Butterfield) having come to join Captain Stanhope (Sam Claflin), an old friend from way back, it feels a bit like Dances With Wolves, in that he wants to see some action before the chance disappears forever. That said, they’re all hoping the onslaught doesn’t happen, but you know it will, otherwise why would we watch them during this time?
There’s occasional humour, such as when one of the men asks chef Mason (Toby Jones) is asked, “What sort of soup is this?”
Mason: “…Yellow soup”
Solider: “Mmmm… it has a yellowy flavour(!)”
Meanwhile, Robert Glenister pops up as The Colonel, back at base, who reminds me of Stephen Fry in Blackadder Goes Forth when he forcefully encourages them to stay on the front line, while he has the hardship of sitting back at base doing sweet Fanny Adams, and making it sound like HE has the real hardship!
Overall, Journey’s End is merely okay. Idt’s just rather plodding in how it gets to where it’s going, and the acting is just fairly perfunctory. Combatting the Germans is one thing, but just waiting for it all to happen is a case of watching people just waiting for things to happen.
The film is presented in the original theatrical ratio of 2.35:1 and in 1080p high definition, and there’s no issues with the picture whatsoever. It looks stunning as you’d expect for a modern movie since it was shot digitally and it brings across the grim reality of war and the dirty trenches. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 50″ Plasma TV, connected to a PS4.
The audio is in Dolby HD-MA 5.1, and it’s mostly a dialogue/ambience piece with some regular sounds of war, but I don’t want to say when/how, thus to avoid spoilers.
The extras are as follows:
- Journey’s End: The Story (10:46): A fairly brief story at that, this mixes clips from the behind-the-scenes footage with chat from the cast and crew. This is a fairly straight-forward piece.
- Interviews: with Sam Claflin (7:53), Asa Butterfield (10:16) and Paul Bettany (6:18). Bits of these were featured in the previous extra, but this adds a bit more info to them in Q&A form, where the Q is silent and each actor talks to an off-camera interviewer.
- Audio descriptive track: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
The menu features a static shot of the cast, with Asa Butterfield in front, but with slight animation over the top of poppy seeds flying across. There’s a piece of the theme played repeatedly. Subtitles are in English only and there are a bog-standard 12 chapters.
Running time: 108 minutes
Released: June 4th 2018
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD-MA 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Saul Dibb
Producers: Guy de Beaujeu and Simon Reade
Screenplay: Simon Reade
Novel: RC Sherriff and Vernon Bartlett
Play: RC Sherriff
Music: Hildur Gudnadóttir and Natalie Holt
James Raleigh: Asa Butterfield
Osborne: Paul Bettany
Captain Stanhope: Sam Claflin
Mason: Toby Jones
Hibbert: Tom Sturridge
Trotter: Stephen Graham
The Colonel: Robert Glenister
Watson: Theo Barklem-Biggs
Hardy: Miles Jupp
Adjutant: Oliver Dimsdale
Hammdon: Jake Curran
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.