Writer Rudyard Kipling is known for both his writing and his passion for his country. In the BBC production, My Boy Jack, Kipling is seen making the ultimate sacrifice for his beloved country. When World War I breaks out, Kipling helps rally the troops to keep the Germans at bay. Kipling’s son, Jack (Daniel Radcliffe) is a man of slight stature with a severe vision problem. Seemingly completely unfit for military service, Rudyard Kipling (David Haig) finds a way to pull strings to get his son into a commission of the Irish guards. Kipling’s wife (Kim Catrrall) is furious, and Jack’s sister (Carey Mulligan) is heartbroken. It is only a matter of time before all must face their greatest fear and ultimate sacrifice.
The odds are clearly against Daniel Radcliffe’s character from the start. When he removes his glasses, he is unable to see. Even judging from the box art, the viewer knows better than to bet on Jack surviving the war. The film is utterly heartbreaking. It is difficult to see parents wail and cry, but never more so when they are partially responsible for the death of their child. The costumes and sets are spot on, and at times the realism of the trenches made me look away with disgust. Trench warfare was truly a horrific thing.
My Boy Jack also includes deleted scenes, interviews with most of the primary cast members and a fascinating documentary on the causes and motivations behind the first world war entitled Pity of War. 100 years after the start of the first World War, and we as a people are still caught up in the complex powder keg structure that lead to what some believed would be the “war to end all wars.”
My Boy Jack is now available.