Private Peaceful begins with younger brother Tommo Peaceful in a cell awaiting dawn and his time in front of a firing squad for his act of cowardice. But before his sentence can be carried out we are transported back in time to when Tommo and older brother Charlie were but small lads getting up to no good in the neighborhood. Well, maybe not quite neighborhood, small village life. if that. Working the land for the landowner, living under the oppression of feudal law, life is hard for the boys.
Sibling rivalry comes in to the picture when a girl arrives on the scene, and both brothers fall for her. Naturally, Tommo misses out and holds a grudge against Charlie and their relationship suffers.
And then the Hun invade France and Tommo sees his chance to escape the shadow of his brother and make a man of himself. Charlie of course follows, it’s his role to look after Tommo after all. However Charlie’s attitude doesn’t sit well with the unbending military rule of the First World War.
Based on the novel of the same name, written by the author of War Horse, this low key production excels in it’s youthful heroes. Both the young and older Peaceful boys steal the show, and in an ironic twist of screen charisma, they both show up their much older peers with their ability to capture the felling of the film, and endear their characters to our hearts.
Rating: M Battle violence.