Journey's End is set almost entirely in a muddy, candle-lit trench in chilly northern France during World War I, and it explores the relationships and responsibilities of the British soldiers living in it. Based on a 1928 play by English playwright R.C. Sherriff, Journey's End was first adapted into a film in 1930 and has been adapted a few other times into films with different titles.
What this most current version of Journey's End offers is a simple, intimate, and beautifully incisive look at the emotions of war. This film is not about the grandeur of hundreds of men marching in uniform, or explosive violence, or even patriotism. It's about ordinary men placed in extraordinary, daunting circumstances and how certain men change under those circumstances.
We've seen emotionally-focused war films like this before with such examples as The Thin Red Line (1998) or The Deer Hunter (1978). Journey's End is another small-scale, steadfast, and moving story about the tragedies of war, the importance of courage, and the precious rarity of friendships both personal and professional. In the saturated world of giant blockbusters, superheroes, and visual effects, Journey's End is very much a small gem. But it sure glows brightly.