In 1914, Britain entered into the World War I with an under-prepared, undermanned and under-equipped army. While fighting this terrible war, thousands of young soldiers became anonymous casualties and an entire generation was practically wiped out. My Boy Jack – a made-for TV film based on the famous writer Rudyard Kipling’s (of Jungle Book- fame) real life-story portrays a moving picture of those horrific days.
The film tells us the story of Kipling’s young son Jack (Daniel Radcliffe). Feeling stifled by his great father’s overpowering presence and wanting to be his own man, a barely seventeen year-old Jack tries to enlist in the armed forces. Repeatedly he is turned down for having extremely poor eye-sight. Kipling (David Haig) - a staunch British Imperialist and a Govt. advisor- uses all his influence in the high places to finally get his son recruited as an army officer. Jack’s mother (Kim Cattrall) and sister (Carey Mulligan) aren’t too happy about the father’s overzealous decision to send his young myopic son to the battlefield. But as an officer in the army, Jack finally comes into his own, commanding a team of soldiers much older than him. Then just one day after his eighteenth birthday, Jack goes out on a dangerous military mission and is reported missing! The distraught family spends months trying to find his whereabouts and trying to come to terms with this loss. Will Jack ever come back?
Haig as the driven-by-nationalism Kipling, Radcliffe as the boy coming of age Jack and Cattrall as the restrained- refined mother are superb performances. The film brilliantly depicts the overwhelming, contrasting emotions a war evokes. If there are things like passion, patriotism, courage and camaraderie on one side, then feelings of fear, helplessness, bitterness and hollowness are also not far behind. It’s a poignant film that makes you realize the pain and grief of a war-ravaged family.
The DVD also presents special features like the deleted scenes and in-depth interviews of the main actors.