The Trench (1999)

The Trench (1999)
  • 2417
  • Not Rated
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release year: 1999 ()
  • Running time: 98 min
  • Original Title: The Trench
  • Voted: 2417

A story about a group of soldiers' last days before the battle of the Somme in 1916, showing the conditions in the trenches during World War I, and taking you into the minds of the soldiers.

1Paul NichollsPte. Billy Macfarlane
2Daniel CraigSgt. Telford Winter
3Julian Rhind-Tutt2nd Lt. Ellis Harte
4Danny DyerLance Cpl. Victor Dell
  • trench life made to look cosy by 7

    Strangely this film has grown on me and I'm not sure why but still have a hate for it. The acting is fairly sound and it has some good moments but there isn't much feel for realism. For a start the trenches would have been infested with rats and lice and from what I've read about The Somme it seemed a lot more draumatic than what was portrayed in this film. It just looked too clean. The main hardship they had experienced was boredom, not relentless rain and the constant madness of bombardments. Also what was the point of capturing a German and then not interrogate him, but give him a fag and then let him go? Another wrong point is that the battalions would have been from the same region. Yeh, I'm being picky but why the scots were with southerners and northerners I don't know. The end of the film is the worst. Surely if there had been nights of endless shelling you'd expect to see some shell holes when going over the top? Could of had a nice picnic on that land. Shame, if the director had read more relevant books it could have been really good.

  • Well-intentioned but inept by 2

    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.

  • Yet Another Portrait of World War I Was Hell by 6

    I went considerably out of my way to be the only woman in the theater to see "The Trench" from Britain, a conventional continuation of the British obsession with World War I as being the most symbolic war. Not much new here that wasn't in "All Quiet on the Western Front" or "Paths of Glory" or "Gallipoli", but I suppose some lessons need illustrating for new generations.

    Taking place claustrophobically in the trenches just prior to the bloody Battle of the Somme with the sounds of war all around--though it could also have been taking place in the canals of Mars against aliens-- the characters are typically class-based Brits (from ineffectual aristocratic officer to working class blokes whose conversations need subtitles for American viewers), but manage to stay above stereotypes through excellent acting (with actors familiar to us from PBS's "Mystery" and "Masterpiece Theater") and personalization.

    I'm probably the only one other than Daniel Craig's family (and the webmasters at his fan site) who went to see the movie for him, but his career soldier sergeant in particular is a real human being.

    Otherwise, as always with ensemble war movies, I have trouble telling the young guys in uniform apart to keep the characters straight.(originally written 12/2/2000)

  • I Did Have Reservations At The Start .... by 4

    .... because the opening title sequence is very bland . Compare it to the shocking title sequence of the 1960s BBC documentary THE GREAT WAR . As the film goes on we`re introduced to the characters and I couldn`t help noticing that one is Southern English , a couple are Northern English , a couple are Jocks , a couple are Irish while the sarge is a scouser . I`m sorry but I was convinced that British army infantry regiments of the period were composed of " Pals battalions " , that is battalions composed entirely of men from the same home town . Take for instance the 16th battalion of The Royal Scots which was formed in one week and was called " The Hearts battalion " because it was composed mainly of supporters of Hearts football club . The 16th Royal Scots even had 16 Hearts players in its ranks so I don`t believe for a moment that any British army infantry platoon was as regionally mixed as the one here

    The more THE TRENCH goes on the more I found myself questioning the accuracy of the movie especially its mood and its sense of time and place . A British made trench in France in 1916 . Since when did the Brits build trenches like the one seen here ? It even has a concrete floor that the Germans would have been proud of which seems to go against I`ve seen in photographic evidence . The film also has an anachronistic cynical air , what on the eve of the Somme ? The British troops had witnessed day upon day of hellish bombardment of the German positions and a lot of British soldiers had begun to feel rather sorry for Jerry , and no one but no one in the British lines had any reason to doubt anything less than a swift , spectacular British victory . Of course one day and 20,000 dead British soldiers later changed these thoughts , in fact some historians describe the date 1st of July 1916 " The day British idealism died " . One final point - As at least one other commentator mentioned THE TRENCH contains a large amount of swear words . It has been documented that one criticism by the real life survivors of BAND OF BROTHERS was that the HBO/BBC drama contained too much swearing and that people in the 1940s used far less profane words than people use nowadays . I`m inclined to believe them and I`m also inclined to believe people in 1916 probably swore less than people in the 1940s so I doubt if the men in the trenches used the " F " word in every sentence

    Unfortunately who German bullets didn`t claim on that grim day have been killed by the passing of time so the chances of someone who was there writing into this site and telling us their opinion of THE TRENCH are very remote . A pity because I`d be very interested what they thought of it . As for myself I found the ending moving ( How could it not be ? ) but the rest is rather poor history and a rather poor film that seems to have homo erotic undertones

  • Worth a look, but glad I didn't spend money on the DVD by 5

    World War I has been very neglected by the movie industry, so that fact in itself makes this film slightly "unusual". While it's impossible to say how "accurate" this depiction of life in the trenches really is, to my eye the sets, the uniforms, the equipment etc. looked pretty impressive. However, I did have a problem with the gratuitous use of the "f" word, which all the characters seemed to use more and more as the film went on. I have nothing at all against "bad language" in a movie if it's in the right context, but swearing just for the sake of it just gets boring after a while - and more to the point, did young British men nearly 90 years ago REALLY say "f**k" all the time, as young men these days seem to? I would guess not. As a youngster I knew a number of old soldiers (elderly neighbours, great uncles and the like) who had actually fought in the First World War, and I don't recall ever hearing one of them use even mild profanities. So to my ear, much of the banter between the young soldiers in the movie seemed somewhat anachronistic. I also had a problem with the scene when the troops finally went "over the top" towards the end of the movie. Instead of marching across a devastated, shell-cratered moonscape which was typical of World War I battlefields, we had them marching across a very lush, green English field bearing not a single scar of war!!! This, and the complete absence of enemy troops in the movie (apart from the solitary prisoner brought back from a night raid) betrayed the film's low budget. A moderately interesting film that has you sympathising with the characters by the end, but I won't be going out of my way to give it a second viewing and I'm glad that I saw it on TV, rather than spending hard-earned money on the DVD. 5 out of 10.

1Tony Pierce-Robertscinematographer
2Evelyn Glenniecomposer
3Greg Malcangicomposer
4William Boyddirector
5Jim Clarkeditor
6Steve Clark-Hallproducer