The story is not overly creative or unknown- two brothers like the same girl, and as they grow old, the girl eventually chooses one of them, while the other is left hurt and abandoned, and so he decides to join the army in order to forget about her. The situations worsens when both brothers end up in war, and get in trouble for disobeying orders. I won't give up too much details of the plot, but it is a touching story, with approachable characters and a steady, yet intriguing storyline.
One of the things I appreciated and remembered was that, for such a small budget and unknown names, it had surprisingly good quality in both acting and filmmaking. The cinematography was beautiful and used simple, yet effective techniques, the direction was on point and didn't overreact on certain occasions (see War Horse) and the sets, costume and music helped the story come across in a much more realistic way.
The casting was definitely one of its strongest attributes. Starting with very good young cast (Izzie Meikle-Small, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, Samuel Bottomley) who set up the movie, and its high class supporting cast, starring Richard Griffiths and Frances de la Tour, and ending with the three main leads, Alexandra Roach as Molly, the girl who wins both of the men's hearts, and the two brothers, Jack O'Connell as Charlie, the older, smarter and more charismatic brother, and George MacKay as Tommo, the younger, more sensitive and heartfelt boy. There are some things I noticed about them and their acting that I want to mention. First, interestingly enough, younger Molly was much more interesting and appealing than older Molly, as Roach was quite bland in her part (or maybe the script didn't allow her to shine). Second, George MacKay gave, probably, the best performance out of the three, with his sweet nature, misunderstood character and brave facade. Third, Jack O'Connell, the guy who played Charlie, very much reminded me of Anton Yelchin.
In the end, Private Peaceful is a very good British war movie that proves that you can make a wonderful film without enormous amounts of money. Some might say it is a more normal, less dramatic, low budget, version of War Horse or Saving Private Ryan, and I think I would agree. You should see it!