1917 – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Sam Mendes has done it again. The man who brought us Skyfall, Spectre, and American Beauty has now set his storytelling gifts on the World War I epic 1917. Because his cinematography made it look like “one continuous shot,” it has the audience on the edge of their seats once the soldiers get their marching orders.
The story takes place at the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) 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, including Blake’s own brother, who is in that division. We go step by step beside Schofield and Blake as they wind their way through camp and into the trenches that rise up around them. They are moving past fellow British soldiers sorting through mail and hanging laundry, or laying wire or crouching in corners, smoking. They are viewed as insane because they are choosing to cross the front line, which is hell on earth to give the message they are tasked with. This is a war movie that is a thriller, done on the run with a ticking clock.
This film was a labor of love and intended to be a homage to the men who took part in this conflict. One of them was Mendes’s grandfather, a veteran of the WWI whose stories provided the initial inspiration for the film. The director is quoted as saying, “There’s a feeling about this war, that it is in danger of being forgotten. It was a vast war. Sixteen million people died in it and the winds that blew before that war are blowing again in Europe. I think there is a feeling that these men were fighting for a free and unified Europe, and we would do well to remember that in our country.” Whatever reason he decided to make this film, I’m glad he did. Because 1917 is a fantastic, explosive, unblinking look at the carnage that war truly is.
I give 1917 an A+ rating. It’s the kind of film that was born to be seen on IMAX screens. It will be a front runner come awards season.
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Written by: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Selig Rating A+
Running Time: 1hr 59min
Drama / War
Limited to Wide Release: December 25th AMC NorthPark, Cinemark West Plano & XD
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Colin Firth
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.