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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not an action film - dialog, dialog, dialog. If you're looking for realistic scenes of "life" in the trenches, this might be for you.Published 1 month ago by Kurt in New York
Unfortunately, this movie is not very good. Such an epic moment in time truly deserves a good movie, and I was suckered into watching this on the grounds that I may have stumbled... Read morePublished 5 months ago by History buff, reader, person with name, etc
I only watched the first 10-15 minutes. The accents were so thick I couldn't understand what anyone was saying. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer