The Trench

Soldiers in a trench await the First Battle of the Somme in this taut 1999 antiwar drama from Great Britain. The performances generate some tension—Daniel Craig stands out as the tough, taciturn sergeant—and typical war-movie vignettes keep our attention. Novelist William Boyd, in his first outing as director, effectively conveys the men's entrapment, the camera seeming to butt against the narrow limits of the trench. But one never feels the filth of such an environment, and Boyd brings no new insights to this drama of men in a confined space, a situation that?s been the basis for many powerful war films. It's almost too easy to indict a battle that would claim 20,000 British soldiers on its first day.

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