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Review from a combat veteran.
dr-peter-coldwell13 December 2019
Last night COL Ferry and I (COL Coldwell, both USA) were able to watch the new WWI film, 1917, before it has national release. It is a cinematographic feast for the eyes, long expansive shots that follow the protagonists as they execute their mission. It does not hide the horrors that existed in trench warfare, it shows them for their brutality and abundance. (My great uncle died as a consequence of his service fighting in the trenches, mustard gas poisoning). In many ways it reminded me of Saving Private Ryan.

For those who have served in combat (I have deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan), I cannot tell you if the film will be too difficult to watch, it might well be, especially if incoming artillery is a trigger. For me, as the camera travels a few inches above the dirt advancing slowly up a berm, my response was visceral. I was taken back to the patrols we walked in Afghanistan, not knowing what was around the corner; not relaxing heightened vigilance, not knowing if there would be an IED, a child wearing a suicide vest, a sniper taking aim. For the protagonists in this film (as for all who served and are serving) surviving the climb up the berm, there is no sigh of relief, no respite from the fear of uncertainty. They (we) survive to move forward to face more uncertainty.

Watching allowed me to pay homage to my great uncle, and the approximate 800,000 other Brits who were killed or died as a consequence of their service. (Germany lost over 2 million soldiers in the war). Estimates put the total casualty numbers for both military and civilians at 40 million, half killed or died from wounds/infection.

I rate this film as 10/10, for many reasons. Directing, acting, set design, cinematography, musical score, the raw emotion it invokes. Some critics have said they never felt a connection with the characters, I suspect they never served in combat. While the brotherhood (including female War Fighters) is strong, there is also a common characteristic possessed by all War Fighters, the ability to focus on a mission and suppress emotion, even as those around the Fighter fall. This was the quality I recognized in the actors and why the viewer doesn't "bond" with the main protagonists; we, the viewer, were on the mission with them, we grieve as we can and move on.

Watch if you will, but know there is no pleasure in watching and the film will grab you and the beginning and not let you go. Even though we know the outcome of WWI, there is no joy, there is no peace. Watch because it will allow you a glimpse at the horror and brutality of war; reflect on their service and sacrifice. Note, as we (the viewer) are "walking" through the trenches, glancing shots of the young soldiers shows them with flat affect, isolation, almost apathy; this is the face of "shell shock," what we know call post-traumatic stress disorder.

For original WW1 footage, watch "They Shall Never Grow Old," an exceptional documentary.
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I Wanted to Hate This Hauntingly Beautiful Gift of a Movie
tgrafflin5 January 2020
I sat in a packed yet silent theater this morning and watched, what I believe to be, the next Academy Award winner for the Best Picture. I'm not at all a fan of war movies but I am a fan of great movies....and 1917 is a great movie. I have never been so mesmerized by set design and direction, the mass human emotion of this film is astonishingly captured and embedded magically in the audience. It keeps running through my mind...the poetry and beauty intertwined with the raw misery of war. Treat yourself....see this movie!
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Words fail me
gkdidaxi4 January 2020
This film is overwhelming. I have nothing further to add, other than the compelling need for eternal remembrance to those who sacrificed their lives in any way, we can not fathom. We, citizens of any country, today, should feel ourselves lucky and blessed to exist. A Happy New Year to all. George from Hellas. NB: do not give it a second thought; watch it; even if this genre is not your cup of tea. After all, it is much more than a feature film. It's a massive dedication to unselfishness. Do yourself a favour and watch it. And then watch it once more.
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Don't listen to critics!
allentyson-8923010 January 2020
Don't listen to the critics saying this movie is boring. This movie is one of the most tense and exciting movies I've seen in years. Amazing cinematography and overall amazing experience of a movie.
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We're living in such wonderful times...
diegosays7 January 2020
1917 is a poem. Is the most deep, impressive and realistic way of seeing what kinds of things happened in WWI. This movie made me leave the movies with tears in my eyes as if I have had a time travel experience to the World War I, and then waking up and realizing how wonderful are the times we are living in. 1917 is a must see movie for everyone.
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Here goes the Oscar for best cinematography
frederic-2213 December 2019
Guaranteed Oscar. A technical and visual triumph. Bravo Roger Deakins!
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An achievement
eevaivilo12 December 2019
It's a stunning watch from start to finish. The amount of work that went into this film alone deserves your attendance, and even then, the story never stalls, and has a fair balance between war and humanity, and has some of the most incredible camera work I've seen in a while. It's hands down my favorite film of 2019.
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One of the greatest war movies of all time
thompson1200128 December 2019
This is hands down one of the greatest war movies to ever hit the silver screen along with being very unique. The hell of the WWI battlefield is a subject that hasn't been covered in a long time and Mr. Mendes executes this perfectly. A movie like this couldn't have been made 50 years ago but with today's advances in film making along with a large studio budget Mr. Mendes takes us through an adventure every bit as harrowing as Saving Private Ryan and Thin Red Line.

The use of the single shot was brilliant as it brings the viewer along in the trenches and further adds to the realism to the film. I was surprised to hear that this was gimmicky effect from some critics, I feel Mr. Mendes nailed it brilliantly with the help of some fantastic cinematography. The set pieces were so realistic and detailed, a lesser director would've focused more on them but for this ride the camera never stops moving and it's a benefit to the film.

There was no slow part in the movie and the audience is enthralled with the journey from the first minute of the film. The dialogue was great and certainly was a key component of making the single shot method work here. There is no pointless exposition in the movie.

This isn't a piece to glorify war but rather demonstrate how one can be brave all the while showing their vulnerabilities and fear that any normal person would feel in that type of situation. There are no gratuitous bits in the film to exemplify heroism, just a simple story that allows the characters to shine and define bravery on their own terms.

From the acting, to the score, to the cinematography, editing and overall direction of the film Mr. Mendes absolutely knocked it out of the park. This isn't just one of the best war movies of all time, I believe it's truly one of the best pieces of film to ever grace the big screen. 1917 will leave you breathless and for many like myself, in tears when the journey comes to and end.

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MR_Heraclius10 February 2020
Absolutely incredible - I've seen it 3 times in cinemas and each time I find myself even more in awe of, blown away by, and in love with this film. It's thrilling, tense, gentle, satisfying, and deeply beautiful. As a huge fan of the war genre, this is unlike any other film I've ever seen - it finds its true strength in its unexciting, human moments rather than in the mindless chaos of firefights, while still managing to have some of the most exhilarating and edge-of-your-seat segments I've ever seen. Schofield is a brilliant and unconventional choice for the lead character, and his empathy and softness have made him one of my favourite characters of all time and an exceptionally rare example of how quiet tenderness truly can carry a war film better than loud banter and hyper-masculine bluster so often does. Krysty Wilson-Cairns is a genius and George Mackay said so much more in Schofield's silence than most actors could hope to in the grandest monologue. A masterpiece.
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Dunkirk/Midway Wannabe
chi_town_fed28 March 2020
Unimaginative film with many false high IMDB ratings. False high ratings are becoming common on IMDB.
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Too many plot holes
dinhphuccdt28 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I was fooled into watching due to its nominations and awards. I can't believe nowadays just some cinematic editing technique can make a movie masterpiece. Since when we lower our standard for a masterpiece. Aside from cinematography, this movie has 2 things I don't enjoy: terrible acting and lots of plot holes.

Tom was so eager to deliver the message to save his brother battalions at first, but only 5mins later got himself into a relax adventure into German trench and tunnel, like a kid enjoying the games, suddenly forgot about his mission. Right after they discovered the tunnel, everything becomes so silly and unrealistic: the barn, the plane, Tom was stabbed and died after like literally 5min and a split second later there's whole British company appears, which should have some medics to save him LOL, in reality. The truck only carries Schofield 500meters to a bridge which only has 1 snipper. The night scene is even more ridiculous, where the whole German army was 100m from the bridge, where the whole British company trucks passed by in the afternoon, without any conflicts. Then some stupid and silly shooting scenes which I find funny instead of intense at all. Then jumping to the river, which should've killed the guy, and fell down the fall, which should've killed him again, look at the strong and spiral currents, the hero still managed to keep his head up and float all the time. If you notice further, the water after the fall is too silent and to be true, normally after a fall like that the current is still very strong. Then hero meets battalion, only like 200m from German army in the town, but the British battalions are attacking Germans in the OTHER direction, which basically means the British is under siege haha.

Time and space in this movie is completely unrealistic and doesn't make any sense. I feel unsatisfied and disappointed after watching this. Speaking about war scenes, It can never be compared to Saving Private Ryan or Band of brothers, The Pacific..
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While its undeniable that it is a Visual Masterpiece...
aarongnr16 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
It still wasn't fully satisfying for me.

Obviously the story is pretty much one line: deliver this message. This is ok, not every movie needs to be packed with story. But then it shouldn't waste too much time either, it should be faster paced, there should always be something to look at that's actually interesting. The stapled corpses get boring at some point.

The biggest problem I had with this movie, were the unnecessary coincidences. 1) The germans take every step to not leave food or anything behind, yet there is exactly 1 cow and 1 milk bucket left. Which leads to 2) In the town the protagonist jump exactly into this 1 house wherw there's also a baby that needs this milk. 3) The rat. It just runs into the trap exactly when our protagonists are there. Of course. 4) The plane. You guessed it: It lands exactly at our heroes feet. And they decide to help the german guy (why?) which leads to Blakes death.

Other than that, the movie really was spectacular and a feast for this eyes. But it is a movie with just a few too many problems to really shine for me.
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My favorite movie of 2019
fvj21995 December 2019
I saw a preview screening about two hours ago and I am still in shock. This is the best war movie I have seen in a decade. The shots Mendes uses and what he demands of his actors is nothing short of incredible. If you get a chance this will probably be the last must see movie of 2019. I will be seeing this again on release.
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An honest review from an impartial adult viewer
zoransasha17 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I knew nothing of the film heading into the theatre other than it was based on WW1.

Cinematography, lighting, yes brilliant. That of course doesn't make a film deserve an 8.7 rating.

This is a war film for the Marvel generation. There is limited emotion shown by the main characters, scenes that suspend reality and cliche, cliche, cliche.

Our hero finds a bucket of unspoilt milk at an abandoned farmhouse beside the only cow in sight.

A trip wire is tripped by a rat in a bunker in which the two soldiers are in, one is in scratched while the other is buried under rubble, He is dragged out of the rubble with not a scratch, only to have some dust in his eyes. Yet the explosion was so significant it forces the entire large bunker to collapse.

Our hero is shot at by a sniper while crossing the bridge. I thought at this point that we finally might be able to see a tense scene. In other good war films this game of cat and mouse might have lasted several minutes. No need. Our hero somehow immediately locates the position of the sniper and is able to shoot and would him. Stunning marksmanship.

Yet only two scenes later our hero is running through a town in rubble being shot at by German soldiers no more than 20 yards away and isn't hit.

The worst part though, even worse than the tacky scene with the French woman and child, is his escapade down the river, through the rapids, and down a waterfall only the exit the river right at the point at which the battalion he was attempting to locate is luckily only 15 yards away.

Things just seem to randomly work out for our hero, and quickly. There needed to be a few sequences where the hero is faced with the enormity of the situation, loneliness, desolation. Rather each time one chapter is finished he is immediately assisted in movies to the next.

This film pales in comparison to films like Saving Private Ryan and Platoon. An opportunity lost. I left the cinema modestly entertained yet empty and disappointed.
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10/10 for Technique and Cinematography... 4/10 for Story and Characterization...
GenoWashingline13 January 2020
It's an experience, certainly, and I do recommend seeing it in a good cinema.

Deakins was fantastic, absolutely, some stunning cinematography.

But I found the movie incredibly disappointing overall. Feels like a missed opportunity, a very interesting experiment that just does not quite work.

Most of the movie felt like a series of Call Of Duty cut scenes, a video game you had no control over, a really odd feeling, and some of the scenes were like a video game in content with reality stretched to almost breaking point.

To me it was an adventure movie rather than a 'war movie', much more like Indiana Jones than Saving Private Ryan... To relate it to another movie I felt it reminded me very much of The Revenant in story and style, but like that movie it felt rather empty to me.
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Good but not great
shadden6617 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
The one-shot look of this movie was interesting. Wasn't sure if I was going to like that that approach to filming but it worked for this film.

The movie looked fantastic and the scenes and shots were breath taking. Sound and music score really helped a viewer on an emotional level as well.

While I was engrossed and drawn into this film from start to finish, after it was over and I had time to reflect on it, I found it not the profound masterpiece others have stated it as.

The plot in general was unrealistic - there are better ways to deliver a message than sending two soldiers across enemy lines and relying on luck and hope.

Some of the scenes dragged as well, which caused the movie to lose momentum for me. Felt the build up often yes, but then there would be scene that made me lose interest (truck ride. French woman & baby).

Acting wasn't spectacular either, from anyone in the film. You can have all the explosions and battle scenes you want that look great, but if the actors can't carry the script along it won't work as a whole. This is why the comparisons that mention Saving Private Ryan don't work for me - those actors drew you in with their performances. That didn't happen here, and between the acting and the momentum losing scenes, is why I cant rate this film any higher.

Close, but missed the mark for a perfect film, but a good watch none the less.
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Riveting, hauntingly beautiful and mesmerizing
jashminocha4 December 2019
The entire movie made to look like it's shot at one single take, this is possible because of extraordinary talented 14 times Academy Award nominee cinematographer Roger Deakins. This man is a genius, the movie is shot beautifully. it is mesmerizing to a watch world war 1 movie like it is happening right in front of you. The pacing is phenomenal. The only real flaw in the movie is that there are no great character building movements like other war movies but that is also intentional because, the main intention or motive is to save lives and not focus on characters in the movie and that works.
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A technical masterpiece
eelen-seth6 December 2019
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.
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mmkkelly18 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
First let me say the beginning sequences were shot almost perfectly. I was really into the first 20-25 minutes of the movie. I was engaged and thinking about how I was going to tell my sons that if they get a chance to go watch it in the theater. The cinematography and music were gripping. Then..... as the 2 main characters (solider A and soldier B) get through the initial German traps, and enter into an open field with a cow, a barn, and a pale of fresh milk, the movie goes down hill fast. I was literally laughing at the ridiculousness of the plot and situations. A & B, whose duty it is to transport a message to (2) battalions, warning the battalions are falling into a German trap. Soldier A, has an older brother who is possibly going to be slaughtered in the trap. With the cow and milk pale in the background, A & B find themselves helping a German airplane pilot out of his burning plane after witnessing an aerial dog fight. This is right after they go through hundreds of yards of seeing their dead countrymen. This is also after they almost get blown up (should have been into 1000 pieces) from booty traps (goonies reference). They help the German guy? Help him? Well, the German guy proceeds to knife Soldier A and kill him. That sequence made me almost leave the theater. I should have because the remaining parts of the movie just got worse. Soldier B still had a message to deliver. B proceeded to get picked up by a convoy of English Soldiers in trucks, who showed up a split second after the cow, milk, plane sequence. As if the trucks showing up was not ridiculous enough, the truck B was in got stuck in the mud moments later. B then convinces 15 or so other soldiers to help him push it out of the mud. Well, they miraculously do this, only to find that they can drive another few hundred yards. Our message delivering solider B leaves them and then now has to make it past the storm trooper German snipers. I call them storm troopers, because just like storm troopers, they are unable to hit their target. On one of the first sniper situations, the sniper gets hit by a bullet, so B thinks. However, when B goes to check to see if he shot the sniper, he opens the door full swing with his entire body facing the wounded sniper. B then takes a bullet? Or something happens where he gets knocked back down a small flight of stairs. After he wakes, he evades some more storm troopers, then kicks open a small horizontal door to find a woman and a baby, along with a beautiful fire. Thankfully B had fresh milk. B then leaves as it is getting close to morning. He evades a couple storm troopers only to find a younger storm trooper that he tries to shush. B actually puts his finger up to the storm trooper to shush him? Huh? Was this part of Jedi training? When that doesn't work he chokes him instead. Much to B's surprise, the choking worked better than the shushing. Go figure? B then runs and runs evading lots of lots of laser guns. Oops sorry, bullets. Then he jumps into a raging river where he smashes his head. Thankfully he has a hard head. If that is not silly enough, the rivers puts him exactly where he needs to be. Right up to a Battalion sitting in a large circle, listening to a guy singing. UGH, that was so bad. B still needs to get his dry message that was soaked in the river to the commander. He proceeds to evade lots of bombs from enemy fire to do this. But thankfully B makes it. A cameo by Benedict Cumberbatch as the commander cannot save this flop. B saves the second wave. B meets A's brother, even though he was in the first wave that was already deployed and supposed to be slaughtered.

I just have to say why? Why do we need to accept these movies and call them Oscar winners? Yes, the cinematography should get an award possibly. Maybe the score. But the overall movie was just plain terrible.
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Great to look at but the plot holes!
joehislop14 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
The effort Sam Mendes has gone to to create an authentic WW1 setting is astonishing. The scenes of the trenches, dead horses, bomb craters etc really put you in the scenes, and I was blown away by the film from a visual point of view. My problem is that the plot holes in the story were as big as some of the bomb craters. And after leaving, I realised they were too many and obvious to allow me to enjoy the film. (I'm about to reveal spoilers, so don't read on if you haven't seen it). So we all know that it's true that German forces retreated from trenches at times. As the distance between allied and opposing forces was as matter of yards in many cases, the fact they had abandoned their line would have been obvious over a relatively short period of time to the allies, because of air and recon intelligence. When the rat triggered the trip wire, both men were literally on top of the trap. It was a big enough explosion to collapse the entire tunnel, but they both survived without a scratch. After the pilot killed Blake, almost straight away, Schofield was suddenly joined by a huge troop of British Allies. Where did they come from? Why didn't they just take the message? When they drop Schofield off, he immediately starts getting sniped, while the troops are presumably right next to him. Why didn't they shoot back to help? Where did they disappear to? When Schofield is being chased, he kicks a door through in clear view of his pursuer, and the pursuer just runs on. Leaving Schofield to spend a random night with a woman and baby who happened to be surviving on their own with no food and water, hidden in the same ruins as German troops. There are more. I won't labour the point, but once you start seeing the flaws, they just all add up to make what is a beautiful film just too implausible for me.
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I dont get the raves
khalibidder17 January 2020
Sure, it had a few good cinematic shots.

But the story felt hollow - cardboard cutout characters - generic message delivery through enemy lands. Almost feel like they did it by the numbers.
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Average Movie
madabhicool27 March 2020
This movie has nothing special. It is just like any other movie where the actor has to struggle a lot to reach his destination. Nothing else. I couldn't understand why it's rating was 8.5
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A century and three years old, 1917 relives the terrifying but excellent journey of two unsung heroes.
tomholland20169 January 2020
It features a realistic portrayal of a true remarkable story following the appalling journey of two soldiers having to call off the attack against Germany.

1917 is a massive technical achievement done right. The camera tracks this pair of individuals with a smooth good-looking one continuous shot for 110 mins! Despite it's not exactly one shot, the slick technique where it manages to trick the audience's eyes when a one shot jumps from the other is brilliant.

Cinematography is riveting to the eyes. There are so many important close-ups that picture a thousand words of these two soldiers about their past and their emotional trauma of the World War 1 effect. The better thing is it knows when to pull back from those close-ups to reveal the true scale of the horrendous and the shock of the battlefield.

Immersively done, 1917 sucks you into the sheer horror of experiencing the daunting moments of World War 1. You will feel as if you are walking with these men.

1917 is a highly suspenseful film from the front 'till the end of the line. I can assure you, the intensity is greater than 90% horror movies in the last decade. Sam Mendes escalates the tense atmosphere little by little before he uncovers everything in the final 20 minutes.

The set feels very much like a breath of air back in the early 1900s. It is unrelenting seeing objects, locations and soldiers are bombed into pieces, excellently enhanced by how specific the layouts are to justify the maddening era of bloodbath.

Though feels gimmicky, the music projects a powerful influence in increasing the gritty war moments and giving the sense that every scene should be appreciated as much as possible.

George Mackay & Dean Chapman's performances are great however, I wish they could give more. The former expresses his raw emotions clearly but sometimes, he falls flat and the latter's way of characters feels quite unbelievable due to Chapman's failure to construct expressions that is substantially connected to the impacts of war. For mega-awards like Golden Globe & Oscar, the lack of creativity to create nuances details on their face, resulted in them not nominated for Best Actor/Supporting Actor.

1917 renders much of a survival movie like Dunkirk rather than non-stopping war shootings genre. The plot is where the downside comes. Mind that it is great and propulsively executed but the emptiness of the sub-stories is what 1917 suffers.

1917 also hurts by putting in dialogues that does not drive the story further, but only to give a sense of what personality the characters embody.

Verdict: 1917 is a warfare that feels immersive and nerve-wracking with its glorious cinematography and visual designs however, it occasionally steps into the landmines which is forgivable as the whole movie transmits an experience that is substantially novelty and worth living for.
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Dissenting view: technical achievement, mediocre movie
tony-mastrogiorgio3 January 2020
I have a special fondness for movies that set technical limitations and still achieve full bodied, engrossing story telling. For example, Stephen Knight's Locke is one man, in a car, by himself - and it's riveting. Die Hard takes place (mostly) in a single blinding. 1917 sets a limitation for itself by presenting the movie as a single continuous shot. (It's really at least three, but that's beside the point.)

The rationale is that this would immerse the viewer in the experience of the war. And despite Deakins skill in pulling off the achievement, I think it does the opposite. It's awkward at times, distracting, and gives up the foundational language of film: the power of editing. Some thoughts:

  • Cutting focuses our attention, shifts our point of view, can put us both inside and outside the experience of the characters.

  • The long shots of the characters walking toward the camera in the trenches are off putting. They are completely unlike the way we experience reality - how often do we hold a steady gaze on a single point while walking in real life? It's meant to be subjective and immersive, but it's the opposite.

  • Things get better outside of the trench when the camera has more movement, but get worse in the ruined village, a sequence that looks more like a video game with new pursuers appearing in the channel behind him.

  • The monotony of the single tales had me looking around the frame for the bodies in the mud, pressed in the trench walls, etc. - impressive art direction, but distracting, pulling me out of the story.

The bodies sticking out of the mud were supposed to be horrifying, but they struck me as antiseptic. And one reminded me of Davy Jones ship in the second Pirates movie, which made me laugh inappropriately.

The real problem is that we have scene this movie before. The plot is the same as Saving Private Ryan, or even Thin Red Line or the Naked and the Dead, which were also built around a single mission. I think Mendes tried to overcome a familiar story with the single take idea. I also think that he can't resist sentimentalizing the story and reaching for unearned emotion.

The flaws of the movie are seen in the far to brief appearance of Mark Strong, who is strong, grounded, real, everything the rest of the movie is not. A more cinematic approach, and a story more grounded in human experience, and built out of characterizations like Strong's, would have been much more interesting.

As it is, 1917 is a mildly interesting experiment with a conventional story at its center.
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War is hell, this film is NOT!
seedoeatreview18 December 2019
After reviewing movies for many years I have a sort of formula when it comes to writing about the films I watch. If the movie is really bad I tend to write the review straight away so I can get it out of my mind and never have to think about it again. When a film is good, as I find most are, then I tend to wait two to three days to collect my thoughts, do some background research and write it with a clear mind. But occasionally I see a film which absolutely blows me away. These types of films come around rarely but when they do I have to really sit back, take a deep breath and comprehend just how I'm going to convey how good it is in words. 1917 is that type of film - a movie that displays technical wizardry behind the camera and amazing work in front of it. It's been six days since I've watched 1917 and I'm still in absolute awe of what I witnessed!

The year is of course 1917. Deep in the heart of France British soldiers battle the Germans in what appears to be insurmountable odds. It's on the battlefield that we meet two young soldiers, Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Lance Corporal Schofield (George Mackay). They've just been assigned an impossible mission by General Erinmore (Colin Firth): travel by foot behind enemy lines, avoiding German snipers and artillery, to find a British battalion that is about to walk into a trap set up by the Germans. It's a task so dangerous it will probably cost both men their lives, but if they fail it will lead to the massacre of 1,600 British soldiers. Adding to the urgency of the assignment, Blake's older brother is one of the 1,600 soldiers about to walk into the ambush!


After reading the above description you're probably wondering what makes this film so spellbinding. Well it's the way that it has been filmed that really puts it above other war films. Director Sam Mendes (Skyfall, American Beauty) and cinematographer Roger Deakins (Skyfall, Blade Runner 2049) have collaborated to come up with a style of filming that makes it look like one long tracking shot that never takes a break or cuts away. We follow soldiers Blake and Schofield all the way through their mission in real time: walking though crowded bunkers, dodging snipers and crawling through mud as if we are there with them. As an audience member it's disorienting, confronting and an absolute cinematic masterpiece like I've never witnessed before. This is a film that just HAS TO be seen in the cinema to get the full experience. It's a movie that really shows the horrors of war with scenes that will shock you and sounds that will scare you. A lot of people may compare it to Saving Private Ryan but I think it may even be better than that!


Apart from a couple of nit-picky things there is nothing bad about this movie. There are cameos galore where the famous actor always has his back toward the camera and then dramatically turns around as if to say 'look it's me!', and a lot of the story does fall into place rather too nicely, but nothing took away from my enjoyment or made me feel as I was watching 'just another movie'. Throughout this film's two hour running time I felt as if I was on this mission with these two soldiers and absolutely nothing took me out of it until the very end credits.


Mendes has managed to capture the horrors of war in full, gory detail. From dirty, rat infested bunkers to brutal deaths and amputations, nothing is off limits as 1917 definitely doesn't glamorise what these brave men in the British armed forces had to go through. It may not be easy to watch for those of you with a weak stomach but it is probably a very accurate portrayal of what really happened in World War One.

The saying 'you have to see it to believe it' is an accurate statement when talking about 1917. Nothing I write will do justice to the film which definitely requires a second viewing to fully take it in. It's war and it's ugly but the way it has been told is just as engrossing as what is being told. A must see at the cinema!

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