Monday, December 23, 2019

Review: 1917

Release date: December 25, 2019
Running time: 119 minutes
Starring: Andrew Scott, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden

1917 is a new war drama that tasks two unlucky soldiers with crossing the front lines of the war to deliver a vital message to two Allied battalions.  This seemingly simple task must be accomplished within a day and could have dire consequences for those battalions and the overall war.  

One of the most impressive--and potentially polarizing--aspects of this film is its cinematography.  Sam Mendes shot the movie to appear to happen in a single take, with hidden cuts to make it look like you are watching one continuous recording.  It is very impressive to see and makes you wonder how this occurred.  It can be distracting at the start--constantly looking for the cuts--but after a while I didn't notice it and just appreciated it for the story.  And it really adds a sense of tension and believability to this dramatic film.  

The journey itself is self-contained as the entire adventure must take place within a day.  And the fact that there are two soldiers taking this trip is enjoyable as you can see their different personalities clash.  I likened it to a World War I Lord of the Rings, with the main movie being the journey and seeing how the two very different people overcome the obstacles before them.  But that time constraint also limits what you can see in the film; because it takes place in a day you can't get a sense of more than this area of the war and this specific mission.  The filmmakers do their most with what they have, taking the viewer to a few different locales and some very impressive scenery, but the temporal aspect means that the film can only show so much.

But what it does show is very impressive with a great attention to detail.  After seeing They Shall Not Grow Old, I was impressed by how authentic the trench scenes looked.  They looked desolate, terrible, and run down; probably not as accurate as the real things but still very impressive to see and probably about as close as we could get without experiencing it ourselves.  And the contrast of those desolate locales with some of the more lush areas that appear later in the film is breathtaking. 

1917 uses impressive camera work and Hollywood magic, booming special effects, and impressive sets to tell an authentic, dramatic war story.  

Watch It

No comments:

Post a Comment