tipsfromchip’s review published on Letterboxd :
This is a different kind of film. It's one part anti-war drama, one part musical, one part satire, and one part theatrical allegory. A whole host of familiar faces cameo in a retelling of how WWI started and its impact on one fictional British family.
The opening shows the various European leaders in a ballroom with a large rug that has the map of Europe on it. We see how they all bumbled into escalating a simple assassination into the largest war man had seen to that point. We then see a new amusement park coming to a British pier - World War One. The Smith family enters and we see merry-go-rounds become soldiers riding to war, viewfinders showing battles, and society matrons becoming showgirls enticing men in the audience to sign up.
We also see several of the Smith family in Europe where no British leader seems to have the faintest clue how to actually fight a war, especially in their refusal to even talk with the French who are supposed to be their allies. And then a new commander is installed whose primary goal is to win before the Americans come so he gets all the glory. If he has to sacrifice every single British soldier in Europe to do it then he's fine with that since it's all for the "greater good".
The musical parts are the many period songs that were actually written and sung by the troops during WWI, including such well known ones as It's a Long Way to Tipperary, Parley-Vous, and Over There.
The theatrical part is interspersed throughout with a tote board tracking the deaths and the ground gained (which always remains zero). The ending scene is very effective in showing what an enormous waste of life the whole thing was.