Terence Davies’s drama offers a multi-faceted portrait of poet Siegfried Sassoon (Jack Lowden, Peter Capaldi) and a life scarred by his experiences during the First World War. Archive footage underlines the brutal conditions of trench warfare and the appalling loss of life. Sassoon’s opposition to the slaughter makes him an inconvenience to the establishment, but the guilt of his survival is overwhelming. His life as a gay man, searching in vain for love and fidelity, adds to the weight of a tragic tale told with biting wit and stand-out performances from Lowden and Capaldi as Sassoon at different stages of his life.
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