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Private Peaceful


Stars: George MacKay, Jack O'Connell, Alexandra Roach, John Lynch, Richard Griffiths, Maxine Peake, Frances de la Tour, Izzy Meikle-Small, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, James Laurenson, Samuel Bottomley

Director: Pat O'Connor

A well-set but rather dull adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's rural/war story, a closish relative of his own War Horse.

Inadvertently responsible for his gamekeeper's father's death in 1908, young Tommo Peaceful (Bottomley, later MacKay) conceives a lifelong passion for young Molly (Meikle-Small, later Roach), hoyden daughter of the new 'keeper. Unfortunately, she falls (pregnant) for Tommo's older brother Charlie (Fiennes-Tiffin, later O'Connell).

Then comes World War One, and both brothers somewhat reluctantly volunteer for active service after the conscription of their farm's horses means they're no longer needed to work the land.

Things loll gently along and, although the war scenes are tolerably graphic, the film lacks guts and bite, so that we care less about Charlie's ultimate fate than we might do. More believable is Lynch's fearsome army sergeant, the only really eye-catching performance in this plodding film.

David Quinlan

UK 2012. UK Distributor: Eagle Media. Colour by deluxe.
97 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 08 Oct 2012