“ Genre: War & Western - War / Theatrical Release: 2001 / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Bill Anderson / Actors: Will Adamsdale, Nick Bartlett, Christopher Benjamin, Jane Bertish, Peter Blythe ... / DVD released 2003-04-14 at Cinema Club / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, PAL „
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Sword of Honour is the 2001 William Boyd adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's trilogy of the same name. Written for the screen by Boyd, it was originally shown as a two part saga, documenting the life of Guy Crouchback through the Second World War.
Daniel Craig takes the lead role of Guy, and we follow his charming style throughout as the officer who is determined to fight for the cause, his country and his beliefs, and in a way, the plot itself doesn't have particularly important lines to follow. However, there are a couple, such as the constant re-emergence of Guy's ex-wife, Virginia (Megan Dodds), and some other recurring characters in Guy's military life.
We follow Guy to Crete, and Egypt, and other places that were involved during the War, as he takes his officer status from place to place, regiment to regiment, never letting disappointment or injury get in his way of serving his duty, and it is his morals that shine through from start to finish. He never once lowers his standards, apart from where his ex-wife is concerned, as she seems to have such an immense power over him. We see a stark contrast between Guy as a person and Guy as an officer. The ethics and morals still remain, but his mood and command alter quite dramatically.
It's a very British affair, with many familiar faces that I have seen on TV before, mainly on British Tv shows here and there. Leslie Phillips and Julian Rhind-Tutt are in evidence in decent roles, and the majority of the acting is very good. However, there is something about the drama that just drags. It is very long, naturally with the intention to watch it in two parts, as was intended. As such, it is important to regard it as a TV drama and not a film, despite its appearance on my DVD as a film. The DVD I have came free with a newspaper, and as such has no DVD extras at all.
Overall, I found this to be a bit too long for the tale. There is a natural break in the middle as parts 1 and 2 are separated, but even with this, the story just didn't go anywhere for too long at times. Guy gets placed all around the world as part of his roles fighting for his country, but I was never completely sure where he was or what year we were looking at from time to time.
That all having been said, it's a decent drama to watch. The focus is heavily twofold: on the romance between him and his ex-wife, and on his moral struggle in serving his country. I recommend watching it if you have the time, but don't try to do so in one sitting: it's just too long.