review by Bobby Blakey
Director Sam Mendes has delivered some great films during his career including Road To Perdition and his venture into the world of 007 with Skyfall and Spectre. Now he is stepping back in time into World War I with his new film 1917 starring George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Benedict Cumberbatch. Could this film capture the intensity of the historical war or will it fail to complete its mission?
1917 follows the height of the First World War where two young British soldiers, Schofield and Blake are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them. From the first trailer of this film I was all in, but knowing that it was broken into numerous long cuts and overall put together to appear to be one long cut made it all the cooler idea.
Going into this film, like most, I assumed there was going to be a more epic war action aspect to it and while these elements are there this story is so much more. This is a story about the two men on a dangerous journey to save others and instead of focusing on the battle it’s about their perilous journey. There are many intense moments that slow burn to build the tension as it gets more and more dangerous. There are real human moments mixed in with this epic journey that further punch the emotion home to what these two men are really going through.
Chapman and MacKay do a great job leading the charge with both bringing an intense emotional journey to the already dangerous one they are embarking on. Where this film steps it up the most is in the execution. To say the visuals and music are excellent is an understatement. Every element of this film works towards bringing it into a bigger scope. Visually it is stunning offer so many beautiful shots and capturing the nature of the war while still being a visual treat. The music slams it home as it builds the tension and sets the tones to every aspect of what they are dealing with and sometimes helps to throw the audience a curve ball.
Part of my love of this film is such a simple filmmaking choice involving the way the film opens and closes that makes it simple perfection. It's hard to put into words the true perfection of this film and do it justice. Everything about this film is great and must be seen on the biggest screen possible. No matter where you see it just make sure you see it and experience it for yourself.