My Boy Jack
I feel fortunate that I never got into the Harry Potter series, having only seen the first movie frees me from seeing Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, and allowed me to focus on his role as John ‘Jack’ Kipling.
The story of Rudyard Kipling’s son, is based on a play, based on a poem Kipling wrote after his son went missing during the Battle of Loos in World War 1.
Kipling is a staunch supporter of King and Country and the war effort against Germany, so much so the he misplaces his loyalties and encourages – to the point of obsession – Jack to join the army and fight the good fight. Jack has a couple of hurdle to navigate however, one being his eyesight and the other being his age. Kipling however pulls a few strings and his boy is accepted.
Jack proves to be a solid leader, leading by example and with compassion. This however means nothing in a war where men were fodder and tactics were non-existent.
With two typecast stars, My Boy jack was always going to be an uphill struggle to have any credibility. The viewer would have to see past Harry Potter (which was easy for me) and Sex in the City’s Kim Cattrall. The interesting thing though, is this is a period drama, and Kim’s role was so far removed form that of Sex, that I didn’t realise until the end of the movie who she played. Similarly with Daniel playing a slightly older role, quite different from Potter, it shouldn’t be too hard to forget his previous transgressions!
What I can say is that both well-known actors embraced their roles with a passion, Daniel proving that he has talent that is being wasted in the Harry Potter series, bringing his character jack to life as he struggles with a range of emotions and circumstances.
As a period drama, My Boy Jack shows a world that most viewers will find alien, but wrapped up in this unfamiliar landscape is a story that most can relate too; the desire to to be loved and accepted by those around us.
Food for thought (spoilers):
Jack doesn’t really want to join the army; all he really wants is to escape his father’s dominion, whilst at the same time earn his fathers approval. On one level My Boy Jack is a parable about the folly of running away from, rather than dealing with issues in your life, the consequences of which can be severe.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: M – Contains Violence & Offensive Language.
Duration: 125 mins.
Director: Brian Kirk.
Actors: Kim Cattrall, Daniel Radcliffe, Julian Wadham, David Haig, Carey Mulligan, Martin McCann, Richard Dormer, Ruaidhri Conroy.
Release Date: Available now.