Director :Sam Mendes
Producer(s) : Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Callum McDougall and Brian Oliver
Cast : George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, with Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch
Genre : War/Drama
Release Date : January 17, 2020
Music Director : Thomas Newman
Awesome-O-Metre : 8.0/10
Revue of 1917
1917 is set at the height of the First World War, where two young British soldiers, Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) are given the unenviable task of crossing enemy territory to deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them.
1917 is art…pure art! Sam Mendes has created a classic world war drama that plunges the viewer into the horrors of the war and doesn’t let up for 2 hours straight! War films aren’t a staple of the movie scene as these are technical and complicated to pull off and may not appeal to audiences but Sam Mendes has created a fantastic piece of film making that will appeal to many. When I heard of 1917, I was anxious to see it because I am a fan of war films like Fury, Hacksaw Ridge and Dunkirk and I wasn’t disappointed because it is just so much fun.
The first thing you will notice (or not) is that the whole film is shot in one continuous take in real time that spans 48 hours of the mission to deliver the important message to the frontlines. By a “continuous take” I mean that the movie is filmed to appear as one continuous shot with no (obvious) editing or scene transitions. If you are a filmmaker, you will recognize how hard this is to do because any small errors will require a reshoot of a long stretch of film. This may seem insignificant to the ordinary to the average movie goer but the impact of this style of filmmaking is that it immerses the viewer and eliciting a sort of first person Point-of-view perspective to the film. I recall seeing this style of filming from Alfred Hitchock’s 1948 film, Rope. It was used most recently in the famous bear attack scene in The Revenant, as well as the opening sequence of Skyfall (also directed by Sam Mendes).
Other than the cinematic style of the film, the acting by George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman was exquisite. They basically carried the whole film and held the audience captive for the 2-hour runtime of the film. This is no mean feat because carrying the weight of a film and transmitting varying emotions as the film progresses with little or no help from the peripheral characters can be incredibly difficult. Also, the plot is another highlight of the film because it is very easy to follow thereby allowing the audience to appreciate the hell and peril that the main characters are enduring.
Sam Mendes’ 1917 is a cinematic marvel with its unblinking visual style and deserves the 10 Academy (Oscar) nominations- including Best Picture and Cinematography. I really enjoyed my time at the cinema and I am curious to hear what you think, so let me know in the comment section below or reach me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Have an awesome week!