1917 - Movie Review


1917 - Movie Review

Films that feel like one seamless sequence, regardless of it really being filmed in one shot, or merely cleverly cut in such a fashion, may be daunting, compelling or simply unique. This has never been truer, especially after Sam Mendes’s 1917 is one of the best movies released in 2020, and 2020 isn’t even over, yet. 

Driven by a series of people passing through crowded trenches for soldiers, the apparent lack of pathways for the camera adds to the cinematographer's physical burden. 1917 gives it’s a very straightforward story a visceral sense of accelerated naturalness by almost never slowing its progress. 

It starts in a peaceful area, where Lance Corporals Blake and Schofield wake up and present to their boss, who has an urgent task for them. Blake's brother and many other British soldiers are headed to an obvious German ambush.

These two young soldiers are to travel across difficult terrain, filled with German soldiers, since the telephone lines are down, in an attempt to save Blake’s brother as well as his fellow soldiers. Even when the heroes are not under attack, each slowdown in action is only the beginning of the next calamity, which raises the suspense all over. 

Notably, Mendes appears less interested in broader views on the horror show and its effects on his protagonists than in the manipulation of the audience in a manner similar to Alfred Hitchcock's approach. 1917 should be viewed more like an amazing thriller rather than a thoughtful assessment of war and its horrors. 

Obviously 1917 is a modern miracle that masks the cuts which could crack the 'one-take' spell. This technical masterpiece couldn't have just been done by the cinematographer, but also by the excellent sound and music work, the CGI and the editing. 

It truly is astounding how 1917 seems so innovative and unique, despite it following one of the oldest tricks in the industry. Watching it will reignite your love for cinema, the same way movies like Vertigo did.

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Updated 3 years ago