To End All Wars

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 38
  2. Negative: 3 out of 38

Where To Watch

Stream On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling

User Reviews

  1. EmieldeV.
    Feb 16, 2004
    5
    The story is too slow to really make an impact. The director has turned one of the most extraordinary events into of the most common films.
  2. BernardoD.
    Sep 17, 2005
    6
    This movie is based on a true story and covers very similar material to that in "Bridge on The River Kwai". The latter movie is excellent in many ways, especially thanks to its cast, Alec Guinness in particular. This movie which seems to follow a similar plot structure is actually based on a book written by Ernest Gordon, one of the POW's. The set-up between Japanese and Allied POWs This movie is based on a true story and covers very similar material to that in "Bridge on The River Kwai". The latter movie is excellent in many ways, especially thanks to its cast, Alec Guinness in particular. This movie which seems to follow a similar plot structure is actually based on a book written by Ernest Gordon, one of the POW's. The set-up between Japanese and Allied POWs covers familiar ground - principally about the Japanese army's disregard for Rules of War (Geneva and Hague Convention), lack of humanity and out and out war crimes. But, unfortunately, this movie doesn't seem to capture the essence of the tensions that existed in those camps. It tries by using voice-over explanations and interchanges among the soldiers. There are some attempts to show torture and other horrors - and as bad as they may be, they don't seem to connect. The daily fear of not knowing whether one will live or die at any time does not come across with any particular effectiveness. Its talked about - but, the fear is hardly conveyed ... I'm not sure why this is so .... ... This movie does not capture the true horror and crimes committed by the Japanese. It presents a broad-brush paint-by-numbers approach. There is never a feeling that these POWs are in true life-despairing danger, although the portrayal of the danger is the crux of the story. The ability to portray the true fear and inhumanity is not any easy one - two examples of movies where this was truly accomplished are Sophie's Choice, Schindler's List and more recently The Grey Zone. To End All Wars hardly achieves that sort of level - as much as it tries. These criticisms aside, this movie is well worth seeing. There are some strong, powerful performances particularly those of Ciaran McMenamin, James Cosmo and Yugo Saso(the translator). In fact, the combined cast performances are all standouts despite the predictable plot development. In summary - this is a movie worth seeing - for the subject matter - for the production values - and for the strong cast. The weaknesses aren't so evident - there is no sense of time passing - some 3 years or so ... feels like a couple of days .... despite the effort to portray the POWs as suffering - they seem too strong, too quick to recover, and not really suffering as the real Ernest Gordon did ... the use of voice-over tends to be tiresome - and the noble message of forgiveness is absurd .... Japanese war criminals running those prison camps often exceeded the bounds of any humanity ... and regretfully, to this day, there has been no justice and no retribution .... the Japanese guards in this movie are fairly nice - with occasional outbursts of angry behaviour ... maybe that's the failing of the movie .... The director says that he didn't want to be perceived as anti_Japanese .... well, by doing so - the impact becomes limiting .... almost cartoonish in some aspects... Bottom line - this is a flawed movie, interesting to watch - a good history lesson for those not familiar with the facts of those terrible years - and a very strong cast. Expand
Metascore
tbd

No score yet - based on 3 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 3
  2. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. It is solidly crafted enough from inherently powerful true-life material, however, that WWII buffs and religiously inclined audiences won't be disappointed.
  2. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    30
    Grim in theme yet seldom effective or convincing in execution.
  3. 50
    The dialogue and voice-over narration (by Gordon) are homily-heavy, and the staging sometimes awkward. The prison extras in particular are often left to stare blankly at the gut-wrenching action before them, with many, including Sutherland, looking awfully fit for men who've been starving for years.