Here are some thoughts Alexis Howell-Jones had about the characters after having done the scene-by-scene breakdown:

William SCHOFIELD

Lance Corporal that Blake picks to accompany him on the mission.

IS THE ONE THAT GOES THROUGH GREATEST CHANGE IN FILM

START:

he’s scarred by a prior campaign that went wrong — and doubts the reasons for their mission. Is afraid of being exposed to that again.

He doesn’t want to go home since he’s afraid of connecting with the emotions at home — love for his wife and children. Won’t look at photos and doesn’t want mail from home.

MAJOR CHANGE POINTS:

- Forced into mission exposing him to worst fears of prior trauma.

- Nearly dies in explosion after buried — Blake saves his life. Greater connection to Blake.

- Opens up to Blake more talking re cherry trees growing back better after they’re chopped down — whilst in peaceful orchard.

- Blake killed — Has to look after Blake as he dies. Now alone when had forged bond. Now has to save Blake’s brother on his own. To risk for others. Now has to take on risks of Escout on his own.

- At Escout — meets Lauri and baby — triggers his emotional response — sings a lullaby he knows, like he’s singing to his own child. Greater exposure to love of others, reminder of family.

- Nearly dead in river — thinks could die in peace (but then would not save the Devons) — but then surrounded by cherry blossoms (recalling Blake’s words when they saw them before, saying when chopped down more trees will grow)

- The moment of commitment to new self — knowing any moment the big push will take Blake’s brother over the top, Schofield’s runs without fear through bombardment to ensure he can get message to Mackenzie and save others.

- He finds Blake’s brother and is able to pass on Blake’s items and say Blake wasn’t alone. He now can lie down in front of another tree in the sunshine and look at photos of his family again.

Tom BLAKE

Brother of man in regiment in peril

RELATIONSHIP TO SCHOFIELD — Blake is unaffected by war in same way as Schofield — gives him insight into connection to family and love Schofield has buried as they travel — all the things he’s trying to ignore

SARGENT SANDERS

Incites action to inciting incident:

Gives Blake mission and instructions to report to General Erinmore with a man (Blake thus picks Schofield not knowing what the mission entails).

GENERAL ERINMORE

Exposition/Inciting Incident:

Tells men their mission — to save the 2nd — including Blake’s brother — from annihilation in attack on German line filled with weapons

LIEUTENANT LESLIE

In charge of Yorkshires — preps them before locked into mission — by entering No Man’s Land to head for Ecoust.

CAPTAIN SMITH

Leader of men who turn up just after Blake dies — consoles Schofield, assists him in journey and tells him not to trust Mackenzie

LAURI

French teenager caring for a stranger’s lost baby, with whom Schofield shares a human connection whilst in Ecoust

RELATIONSHIP TO SCHOFIELD — She takes care of him and soothes him. She and baby are reminder of his family — as indicated by him singing nursery rhyme to baby.

She is looking after baby that isn’t hers — loving other people. Again breaks Schofield’s avoidance of emotion for others.

COLONEL MACKENZIE

The man to find — and singularly obsessed with war at all costs to beat the enemy, even if it must be by only the “last man standing”.

RELATIONSHIP TO SCHOFIELD — He’s gone the opposite way to Schofield. Won’t initially accept orders to stop. Talks of war being settled by the last man standing and hope being a dangerous thing.

LIEUTENANT BLAKE

Blake’s brother — and the emotional connection as to why mission is so important for Blake and, as time goes on, Schofield

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