Directed by: #SamMendes
1917 Movie Review
Sam Mendes’ WWI film, 1917, is hands down one of the most extraordinary films you will ever see. The film has received a whopping 10 Oscar nominations! Some of the nominations include Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Music Score. All these nominations are well-deserved.
1917, follows soldiers Lance Corporal Schofield and Lance Corporal Blake, respectively played by George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman, during the approximate 24 hours they have to relay a very important message to another regiment. Getting to this regiment means going through enemy territory. With 1,600 soldiers’ lives at stake, the two men set off on their almost impossible mission.
MacKay’s performance was truly great and he carries the story well, he stole the show for me which was surprising considering how phenomenal the cast is. There were marvellous, albeit brief, appearances by very high calibre actors, such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew Scott, Mark Strong and Colin Firth.
The soundtrack was brilliant and complimentary for each scene it accompanied; the song ‘Engländer’ is particularly adrenaline-fuelling.
The sound editing was also very impressive; the sounds of the gunshots were so powerful that I flinched every time I heard one due to the force of it. It’s no surprise 1917 is also Oscar nominated for Best Sound Editing.
Yet, the cinematography was the best thing about this film. Mendes stated that it was intended to seem as if the film was shot in one take so that the audience could really be immersed into the experiences of the characters by seeing it as close to real time as possible. This was an ambitious goal and must have taken a huge amount of planning and skill, not only on the directors’ part but also on the part of the cameramen and editors. The film was not actually shot in one take. You can tell which moments in the film would have been impossible to do so and these are the only moments when there are slight breaks in the otherwise constantly smooth filming although, I don’t think this lessened the quality of the film in any way.
This continual stream of filming is so visually attractive, furthermore it’s such a unique technique, because I can only think of two other films that have done this, which are Birdman and Victoria, the latter of which actually was shot in one take.
1917, was a hard but enjoyable watch. The film wasn’t too long, with a run time of 1 hour and 59 minutes, this was rather nice. The story didn’t drag; it was all straight to the point and didn’t waste time on any unneeded self-indulging moments. Every moment served a purpose. It seemed truthful and therefore impactful.
Approximately 9 million soldiers and 7 million citizens in total were killed during WWI. On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 19,240 British soldiers were killed. When you look at the incomprehensible amount of deaths that took place, and consider that WWI happened over 100 years ago, it gets hard to not view the people involved as just a bunch of statistics. Presumably, not many Millennials personally know someone who was involved in WWI either, which makes the loss harder to imagine. However, stories like these help us to remember that each of those numbers were an individual person with their own life and loved ones waiting for them to come back home. 1917 reminds us of those who came before us and how they fought... and it does it so artistically well.