To End All Wars (2001)


“Lt. Jim Reardon, Merchant Marine, one of the few Americans in the area, attached himself to the Argyles during the Allied surrender. We called him “Yanker,” because he was an American – and a bit of a wanker. ” Ernest Gordon

Number of Times Seen – 1 (9 Sep 2019)

Brief Synopsis – Allied prisoners in a Japanese POW camp during World War II must endure the brutal tactics of their captors.

My Take on it – This is a film that I came across by accident and knew nothing about before watching it besides the fact that Kiefer Sutherland is one of the stars.

The overall idea of the film about hope in a prisoner of war camp is great yet they fail to present things in a way that helps make things much more interesting.

The cast of the film is largely filled by unknown actors and that actually helps make things feel even more realistic because the characters largely feel like ordinary soldiers instead of actors.

Unfortunately, the addition of Sutherland and Robert Carlyle actually hurts this kind of feeling and the fact that they both give very over the top kind of performances also hurts things too much.

The story doesn’t flow well at all and the story drags along too much for its own good which is quite a shame.

One would hope that the fact that this film is based on a true story would help make it more engaging and enjoyable, but unfortunately it doesn’t manage to do so and it shows because this film is at best mediocre.

Bottom Line – Interesting idea that isn’t presented well enough. The cast is largely of unknown actors which helps give the story a feel of it telling the tale of ordinary soldiers, but the inclusion of Sutherland and Carlyle takes so much away from that feeling because both give very over the top performances here. The story doesn’t manage to flow very well and drags along a bit too much.  The fact that this is based on a true story doesn’t help make it any more interesting to watch which is quite a pity that things come across as being much too mediocre.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The autobiography of which the film is based on was originally published under the name ‘Through the Valley of the Kwai’ (and later as ‘Miracle on the River Kwai’) and then when this film was made, the same as this film’s title (‘To End All Wars’). This book also acted as a basis for David Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)

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