216. Regeneration (1997)

Film 84 in C4 Top 100 War Films

Shell-shocked officers from the Great War are sent to Craiglockhart Hospital to recuperate. Of these men, poet Wilfred Owen meets fellow writer Siegfried Sassoon, where the latter encourages Owen to write truthfully about the horrors he has experienced.

Meanwhile, Billy Prior has lost the power of speech due to a traumatic event on the battlefield. Psychiatrist Dr Rivers tries to help him,  but Prior is bitter about the war and is desperate to leave the hospital, and lying about his mental state, goes into the local town to drink and meet women.  However, he is aware that as soon as he is fit, he will be expected to return to fighting. Dr Rivers has his own fears about the war – realising that he is sending men back to their possible deaths.

Regeneration is thought-provoking and beautifully acted, providing an insight into the trauma of war and the effects on the mind. More like a play than a film, it treats the viewer intelligently, and is an interesting change from the usual representations of the First World War.

7/10

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