Journey’s End (2017)

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Journey’s End is a British film adaptation of the play Journey’s End by R. C. Sherriff. Written by Simon Reade and directed by Saul Dibb, this is the fifth film adaptation of the play, following Journey’s End (1930), The Other Side (1931), Aces High (1976) and a 1988 BBC TV film. The film was screened in the Special Presentations section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.

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RC Sherriff’s Journey’s End is the seminal British play about WW1. Set in a dugout in Aisne in 1918, it is the story of a group of British officers, led by the mentally disintegrating young officer Stanhope, variously awaiting their fate.

In the British trenches before Saint-Quentin, Captain Hardy converses with Lieutenant Osborne, an older man and public school master, who has come to relieve him. Hardy jokes about the behaviour of Captain Stanhope, who has turned to alcohol to cope with the stress which the war has caused him. While Hardy jokes, Osborne defends Stanhope and describes him as “the best company commander we’ve got”.

Meanwhile, Wesley, somewhere in a building, goes with Lakanta to the Habak. Lakanta says strangers are not allowed there, but Wesley is not a stranger because Lakanta saw him in his original vision quest. Wesley asks him what he should do. Lakanta tells Wesley to start a fire for his journey because while Lakanta can “open the door, only he can go through it”. After some time while Lakanta guides Wesley on a spirit quest, Wesley finds that Lakanta has suddenly disappeared, and slowly he realizes he is seeing the spirit of his late father, Jack Crusher, on the other side of the fire. His father congratulates Wesley on his travels and for having come this far since he died, but he also tells Wesley that he should not follow his path, the path of a Starfleet officer, any longer. Wesley needed to begin a new path that was genuinely his own. The vision at first startles Wesley, but he soon thereafter gains clarity from it.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into you, Wes.” “Look, do you want my help or not?!” “With this kind of an attitude, absolutely not. You’re dismissed.”

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Back on the Enterprise bridge, Picard pleads with Evek not to force a battle and states that they have taken so long to reach an agreement that they should try to avoid conflict whenever possible. Gul Evek considers the options and reluctantly orders the Vetar crew to lock onto and beam his people back aboard, avoiding a direct fight. He then tells Picard that he lost two of three sons during the war and that he does not wish to lose the last one.

Beverly doesn’t understand why Wesley is leaving the Academy and confronts him, saying she can’t stop him but he must explain himself. Wesley finally tells her about his vision of his father. He explains that he has known for a long time that he wasn’t meant to be a Starfleet officer and that he wanted to please her, Captain Picard, and everyone else who hoped for him to become a Starfleet officer. He wasn’t able to admit it to himself until now. Beverly drives home the point that she would be proud of Wesley no matter what he does because she loves him regardless of what he does. Beverly then reveals to Wesley that the Traveler had told Captain Picard long ago that Wesley was a special, like Mozart, and that he was destined for things quite different from the rest of the crew. She resigns herself to the fact that this might be the first step in that direction.

Osborne reads aloud to Trotter from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, his chosen reading and another attempt to escape from the realities of the war. The scene ends with the idealistic Raleigh, who is untouched by the war, stating that it is “frightfully exciting” that he has been picked for the raid.

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On the planet’s surface, a fight breaks out and a phaser is fired at a Cardassian. As Wesley watches, he tries to stop it and suddenly, all movement stops. A phaser beam is fired halfway through the air but hasn’t reached its intended target yet. Wesley’s guide, Lakanta, reveals himself as the Traveler, with whom Wesley had last had contact with years ago. Wesley, it turns out, can travel to a different plane in time and existence. The Traveler tells Wesley that he has evolved to a new level, ready to take the first step on a journey that few humans will ever experience. The Traveler will be Wesley’s guide if he wishes. Wesley asks about the colonists, but the Traveler says they have to find their own journeys and that he must trust that they will do that. They step back into regular time, and the phaser strikes the Cardassian as the fight continues.

Title:Journey’s End
Release:2018-02-02
Runtime:1h47 min.
Genre:War
Stars:Sam Claflin, Asa Butterfield, Paul Bettany, Tom Sturridge, Toby Jones, Stephen Graham

 

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