The Trench (1999)

Directed by
William Boyd

This film is set in the heart of the Battle of Somme, during WWI. At the Battle of the Somme in 1916, General Douglas Haig sent wave upon wave of soldiers over the wire against the German guns. 60,000 British troops died in the first hour. The true story is terrible enough; the drama Boyd weaves around it is the stuff of tragedy.

This battle was the most horrifying chapter of slaughter exhibited during this the first of the World Wars.

The film follows a group of men as they wait in the mud of eight-foot-deep trenches to go over the top. The platoon includes 17-year-old recruit Billy Macfarlane (Paul Nicholls), Sergeant Winter (Daniel Craig) and weak-willed, aristocratic sot Lieutenant Hart.

On the eve of the attack, the men sit and wait. Boyd brings out the tedium and endless repetition of sentry duty before the senseless carnage of the following morning. At times, the piece feels very much like a theatre-based play. The tension is all the more poignant because the audience knows what the men do not, that most of them will fight and die on those muddy tracts of No-Man's Land.

Written by

Genre: Film

Running Time: 100 minutes (approx)

Production Year: 1999

2/5 Stars

Classification: 15 Certificate

Filmed in Colour


Paul Nicholls...Billy Macfarlane
Image for Daniel CraigDaniel Craig...Sgt. Telford Winter
Image for Julian Rhind-TuttJulian Rhind-Tutt...Lt. Ellis Harte
Image for Danny DyerDanny Dyer...Victor Dell
James D'Arcy...Colin Daventry
Tam Williams...Eddie Macfarlane
Anthony Strachan...Horace Beckwith
Michael Moreland...George Hogg
Image for Adrian LukisAdrian Lukis...Col. Villiers
CiarĂ¡n McMenamin...Charlie Ambrose
Image for Cillian MurphyCillian Murphy...Rag Rockwood
John Higgins...Cornwallis
Image for Ben WhishawBen Whishaw...James Deamis
Tim Murphy...Bone
Danny Nutt...Dieter