April 6th, 1917. As a regiment assembles to wage war deep in enemy territory, two soldiers are assigned to race against time and deliver a message that will stop 1,600 men from walking straight into a deadly trap.
April 1917, the Western Front. Two British soldiers are sent to deliver an urgent message to an isolated regiment. If the message is not received in time the regiment will walk into a trap and be massacred. To get to the regiment they will need to cross through enemy territory. Time is of the essence and the journey will be fraught with danger.Written by
Sam Mendes saw Paths of Glory (1957) when he was about 10 years old. When he reviewed it while preparing to make this film, he realized the long, uninterrupted tracking shots in Stanley Kubrick's WWI drama were not as lengthy as most people thought. See more »
By April 1917 (when the movie takes place), the Allies already knew that the Germans had withdrawn and had built a new heavy defensive line. The line had been built during the winter, and the Allies first got wind of the withdrawal and the new line in early March 1917, so the attacking regiment should have been aware of it. See more »
The opening logos are shortened and tinted blue. See more »
The film's IMAX release presented the film open-matte, at an aspect ratio of 1.90:1, meaning there was more picture information visible in the top and bottom of the frame than in normal theaters and on home video. See more »
Sam Mendes' war drama is set during World War I and very personal to him, as it tells a story his grandfather used to tell him when he was still a young lad. Dedicated to Mendes' hero, this drama cuts deep when we join two young soldiers on a mission to deliver a message that could possibly save thousands of fellow combatants.
Filmed and edited as if it was one long take, the camera never leaves our main protagonists, Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay), out of its sight. Mendes (Skyfall) and co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Penny Dreadful) therefore corner themselves by relying on this kind of linear storytelling, to tell a very focused but at times a somewhat thin tale. Some of the scenes are so empty, it will for sure test audiences' patience. Technical, '1917' is a true feast for the eyes and ears.
Roger Deakins' (Blade Runner 2049) cinematography is once again breathtakingly superior to anything else you've seen this year, and for sure will be the one thing people unanimously praise. Sound editing/mixing, visual effects and production design are all outstanding. These are the things, people will remember. It is Thomas Newman's (Passengers) score that elevates every moment happening in front of you, intensifying the emotions brought by our main characters. And although MacKay (Captain Fantastic) and Chapman (Game of Thrones) do a pretty phenomenal job at capturing the true essence of their characters going through a literal hell, it's the side characters with little-to-no screen time who steal their spotlight. Andrew Scott (Fleabag), Mark Strong (Shazam!), Richard Madden (Rocketman) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange) are checkpoints along the way, but man, do they impress with the few lines they're given.
1917 is without a doubt a technical masterpiece, that will inspire many filmmakers, but I can't feel a bit let down. As an overall film, it wants to play a heavy tune on your heartstrings, but can't reach that level of sentiment, because the focus on technicalities pulled me out of the story. It for sure is one of the better films 2019 has brought to the big screen, yet a bit more focus on the script could've made this the cinematic masterpiece of the decade. Nonetheless, I recommend watching this on the biggest screen possible and enjoy another fine piece of cinema brought to you by Sam Mendes.
240 of 394 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this