CHRIS TOOKEY: It's all cliches on the Western Front in Private Peaceful
11:18 GMT, 12 October 2012
Private Peaceful (12A)
Verdict: Deja vu ★★✩✩✩
Private Peaceful is based on Michael Morpurgo’s young adult novel, and revisits the period he explored so movingly in War Horse, with — I’m afraid — much diminished returns.
Pat O’Connor’s film lacks the freshness of the Spielberg epic’s big idea: seeing war through the eyes of an innocent horse.
Private Peaceful is a clichd study of two brothers going to war: Rolf Harris’s Two Little Boys, minus the music.
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Soldiering on: Jack O'Connell in Private Peaceful
The performances are completely over-the-top. Richard Griffiths virtually foams at the mouth as an evil landowner, and John Lynch is barely one-dimensional as a sadistic sergeant.
The lads themselves (played as grown-ups by George MacKay and Jack O’Connell) are cardboard characters too, both in love with the same girl.
Frankly, we’ve been to the trenches too many times before, with superior scripts, directors and actors.
George MacKay (pictured) and O'Connell are cardboard characters, both in love with the same girl