1917 Movie Review

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Photo Credit: François Duhamel

(center) George MacKay as Schofield in "1917," co-written and directed by Sam Mendes.

Based on the Great war, 1917 is a unique story of two British soldiers attempting to deliver a message across enemy lines to save 1600 men, with one of the soldier’s brother among them. Winning 3 Oscars, 2 Golden Globes, and amassing a total of 108 awards, 1917 has amazed critics and crowds with a mainly unknown cast of actors. The two main characters are portrayed by actors George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman who are newer to the movie world and still gave an outstanding job. 1917 is not a documentary of the Great War or a retelling of war stories, it presents an impactful adventure between two friends trying to save their comrades and brother. Shot in one take, 1917 is made to look as if it were shot in one continuous take, giving more intense and immersive moments.

 

1917 never lets the viewer feel comfortable. Only three moments out of the whole movie give the viewer a breather. The start, middle, and end. All lasting only five minutes or less. The movie builds very tense moments without needing bullets to whizz by. Nothing feels too predictable, any dramatic moment comes at random and will give any viewer a jump. Not one scene is the same, with different environments always being introduced.  The fear you feel for the soldiers never stops until the end.

 

Flares flying in the dark sky, explosions going off at random, planes falling from the sky,  soldiers clinging to their last breath, 1917 gives a blunt view into the aftermath of the horrors of the Great War.  The soldiers walk through no man’s land, witnessing the mud, bodies, and craters all over. On the edge of your seat, you feel the fear in the soldiers, witnessing the gross and brutal aftermaths of combat, along with the one-shot filming, you feel immersed in the world of the war to end all wars and feel as if you are with the two men.

 

The two soldiers are never explored. Rather the movie gives us a surface level introduction to them. We never learn much from them and see them merely as average soldiers we just happen to follow around. On purpose or not, this gives a very interesting perspective of the great war. Soldiers were seen as only numbers and a cog in a bigger machine. Our two men are just another duo of messengers to their higher-ups. This perspective will give viewers less connection to the characters, but understand the war and their situation.

 

Whether you are a history buff or a curious viewer, 1917 will give you an immersive and beautifully shot film with an intense story to keep any person anxious for the characters. The cinematography, historical accuracy, superb acting and intense moments in 1917 will give you an amazing time at the theater.

 

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