Journey’s End

Rated 3.0

R.C. Sherriff’s venerable 1928 play about life in the trenches during World War I lives again in the hands of director Saul Dibb, screenwriter Simon Reade and a terrific cast: Sam Claflin as the captain driven to drown his horror in alcohol while somehow rising to his duty; Asa Butterfield as the naïve, idealistic youngster; Paul Bettany as the older lieutenant everyone calls “Uncle;” Toby Jones as the company cook (who provides merciful comic relief)—and those are just for starters. Dibb’s hyper-realism is a drawback at times—soft voices and regional British accents make some dialogue hard to catch, and the nightmarish confusion of combat tends to obscure what’s happening to whom. But those are minor quibbles; the movie is very strong stuff, offering proof that Sherriff’s play is unjustly neglected. J.L.