Film Review: They Shall Not Grow Old – 8.5/10

‘They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old…’

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With all the hysterical shrieking around poppy shaming and taking back control (whatever that means) and all the other pseudo patriotic rhetoric that we currently endure, it is so easy to forget the real meaning of Remembrance Day. That Jesus died for our sins. Oh wait… that’s Christmas right?

I am purposefully being facetious because I can be. The sacrifices made by braver men than me allows me the luxury of indulging my ‘jokes’ and also bestowing it upon you, dear reader. Whether you want me to or not.

What is the best way to remember the fallen? Quiet contemplation? Sticking a poppy in both eyes whilst screaming God Save The Queen at terrified passers by? Probably not. For a more realistic option, you can’t go far wrong with They Shall Not Grow Old.

Peter Jackson orchestrated the Lord of the Rings trilogy of course so any project involving him will always carry an air of expectation. The premise of They Shall Not Grow Old is a simple one. Using mostly unseen archive footage from the Imperial War Museum, Peter Jackson has lovingly coloured the film to bring WWI to life in a way that it never has before. Combined with real veteran testimony, this heart-wrenching documentary gives an idea of what war is really like. In all its beautiful, terrible glory.

For all the inane conversation around Remembrance Day, it is humbling to see actual footage of those that lived and died in the trenches. This film should be sent to every school, to every corner of the United Kingdom. Put simply, occasionally something is released that everybody must watch. They Shall Not Grow Old is essential viewing for everyone.