Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Before Bond, Daniel Craig Played a Great Sergeant


Not to be confused with the silly reality TV production with the same title, The Trench, with a just-on-the-verge-of-stardom Daniel Craig in the lead, captures the claustrophobic feeling, tediousness, and random danger of trench warfare better than any film I've seen. The 1999 movie, set in the days just preceding the Battle of the Somme, was written and directed by WWI author William Boyd operating on a low budget. Maybe because of this, except for the concluding and somewhat predictable over the top sequence, the entire story is set in the frontline trenches and dugouts. Yet the dramatic result is most effective. 

By the end of the 98-minute production, the viewer is left with a sense of having spent a long stretch in a linear, open-air prison. The personalities of the soldiers are well explored, but at the center of everything is Sgt. Telford Winter (Craig). One of the things I especially liked about The Trench is the depiction of how it's the sergeants who actually run things at the cutting edge of any combat operation. Winter, burdened with a weak and erratic lieutenant (nicely portrayed by Julian Rhind-Tutt), carries a bigger load than most NCOs. The film is available on Netflix and for purchase on Amazon.


  1. Looks like a great movie to watch.

  2. I've seen this movie several times. It never fails to intrigue me. In spite of a somewhat predictable plot line, the characterization and atmosphere plus the acting all make this a first-rate film.

  3. I second the appraisal. Perhaps the predictability of the story line adds to the idea of a tedious existence punctuated by abject terror. Cheers