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The Trench


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Product Details

  • Actors: Daniel Craig, Danny Dyer, Ben Whishaw, Cillian Murphy
  • Directors: William Boyd
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: BFS Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 10, 2011
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004VK74A4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,257 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

The Trench tells the story of a group of young British soldiers on the eve of the Battle of the Somme in the summer of 1916, the worst defeat in British military history. Against this ill-fated backdrop, the movie depicts the soldiers' experience as a mixture of boredom, fear, panic and restlessness, confined to a trench on the front lines. At the center of the troops is 17-year-old Billy Macfarlane (Paul Nicholls) who, alongside his older brother Eddie (Tam Williams), has volunteered for service. Like their fellow squad members, they are boys dressed as men. Their survival is in the hands of war-hardened Sergeant Winter (Daniel Craig) and bookish Lieutenant Harte (Julian Rhind-Tutt). However, when word comes that the squad will join the first wave of the attack, they all face an equal fate.

Customer Reviews

The movie is slow moving.
God is a refuge for us (Psalms 62:8)
It's heart might be in the right place, but this tepid misfire looks like a bad TV schools production in every way.
Burrobaggy
The film also has basic problems with character development, plot evolution and historical background.
R. A Forczyk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

136 of 150 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on April 17, 2003
Format: DVD
The first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916 - the bloodiest day in British military history - deserves a detailed portrayal on film. Unfortunately, The Trench is not that film. The Trench is a standard "small group" portrayal of a British infantry platoon in the forward trenches during the three days leading up to the British attack. As films in the war genre go, this film is not very original and even hackneyed at times. Indeed, the film's ending is reminiscent of Gallipoli with Mel Gibson, although not as well done. The film also has basic problems with character development, plot evolution and historical background. Overall, this film is passable if you have a great interest in the First World War (but you will likely be let down) but quite boring and even incomprehensible if you do not.
Unfortunately, the director of The Trench did not feel that character development is particularly important and the viewer is presented with a bunch of stock characters that never gain much definition. The main characters (by type) are: the young, rookie private; the older, experienced sergeant; the weak lieutenant; the disgruntled soldier; the jerk; and the fat, optimistic soldier. The viewer learns precious little about these characters, other than that they generally interact poorly with each other. Indeed, there is very little indication of friendship, cooperation or comradeship that make a real military unit work. It would have been nice to get some background on where these troops come from and how much combat experience they had, but the director almost presents them as ciphers. One of the more interesting aspects of the Battle of the Somme was the character of the British "Pals" battalions, formed from tight social groups like rugby teams or clerks back in England.
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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Melanie White on February 9, 2005
Format: DVD
Reading the other reviews here, I had to post one myself to defend it. The movie has its problems, but some of the complaints are unjustified.

To say the ending was a rip-off of some other war movie is just silly -- how else could it have ended? This was the Somme. You don't make a movie about the first day of the Somme if you want anything other than a massacre.

To the person complaining about No Man's Land being a grassy meadow. There was a place called Serre where the attacking British DID cross a grassy meadow. The grass was so long, as the wounded men fell, some of the others thought there'd been an order to get down, and so they did too, only to find the others wounded or dead.

To the guy complaining about the lack of homoerotic content, all I can say is, oh well. Not everything's always about sex.

Movies about battles like this, you can look at from a big picture perspective or you can zoom in for a close look at a group of individuals. This movie goes for the close-up. It's not trying to be anything else. This is a movie about the strain of the long hours waiting for a major offensive to begin, for a bunch of young guys, most of whom were new to the war. It's dumb to criticize it for failing to be something else. I thought it did a pretty good job of portraying the situation. The boredom, the fear, how difficult it would be to sleep or eat or turn off your brain during those long hours. The ways the men might snipe at one another over little things due to frayed nerves. The relationship between the men, the sergeant and the lieutenant was subtle but I think well-done.

My complaints are that it goes about a half hour too long. The trench looked mighty tidy to me too.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Burrobaggy on July 2, 2005
Format: DVD
It's heart might be in the right place, but this tepid misfire looks like a bad TV schools production in every way. The 'exteriors' are obviously interior studio sets, and not very convincing ones. It's so badly lit that when the film finally goes outdoors to rip off the end of Gallipoli (which it does incredibly badly, like everything else) the change of film stock is so jarring it hurts.

The characters are childish stereotypes talking in unbelievable clichés and the film is frequently just plain wrong about details and attitudes of the average WW1 Tommy: politically correct, maybe, but historically it's a travesty (no Mr Boyd, officers DID go over the top: the highest percentage of casualties was officers, and even many generals died in battle).

But more than being badly directed, looking cheap, getting its facts wrong and going with every cliché Boyd can find, it's biggest sin is that it's just so bloody boring. Bad on every level.

WW1 was a terrible tragedy, and those who died in it deserve better than this terrible, terrible film.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 7, 2007
Format: DVD
Set in the run up to the disastrous first day of the 1916 Battle of the Somme, The Trench isn't entirely worthless, but it's not a movie, more a filmed play (despite being written as a movie), and a very poor one at that with that 1970s BBC For Schools television look. The decision to shoot on a soundstage is particularly disastrous, since it never looks like anything but a soundstage, and this despite having a good cinematographer (Tony Pierce-Roberts). The decision to never leave the trench until the final scene doesn't really work, partially because we have no indication of the world that awaits them, but largely because Boyd's finale is just too televisual to have any compensating shock value. The abrupt jump to exterior for the last couple of minutes (and very tame they are too) is very noticeable, the film stocks and looks just not matching at all. Borrowing the final image of Gallipoli as well doesn't help.

Characters constantly explain what they're doing to each other despite having been in the trench for several weeks or months; there's no immediacy, no sense of danger, no sense of having to live in a fetid, claustrophobic open grave. Indeed, it's one of the most comfortable British trenches I've seen, with an absolutely level floor for the most part place. The soft barrage - the quietest I've ever heard for shells landing 700 yards away - doesn't help. Boyd really doesn't have any idea of the possibilities that cinema has to offer, either camera or sound. It's real problem, though, is that ultimately it's a polite, clean and determinedly inoffensive film about a dirty, ugly war.

Pluses are some good performances, most notably Daniel Craig and Paul Nicholls, the latter improving after a bland start to establish a credible screen presence.
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