1917: A film review

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Brett Zimmerman, Staff Writer

The critically acclaimed 1917, directed by Sam Mendes and starring George MacKay and Dean Charles Chapman, is a worthy addition to the recent run of fantastic movies hitting the box office.

 

The WWI war epic was nominated for 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture and according to some is the clear front runner to take home the Oscar on February 9th.

 

The movie follows two Lance Corporals in the British army, Tom Blake and Will Schofield, during the heat of the First World War. The two are drafted into a covert mission with the objective of saving another British battalion from walking into a German trap. While the two soldiers are initially hesitant, they are swayed when they learn that Tom’s brother will likely die if they don’t succeed.  

 

The cinematography in this film is the best of the year, the cuts and transitions between scenes are essentially unnoticeable, there is only one traditional, black screen cut in the middle of the movie. 

 

This way of filming gives the audience the unique feeling that they are directly following the protagonists as they embark on their adventure. The consistent steady-cam shots throughout the nearly two hour run time makes the screen feel like a portal into the perspective of a potential third soldier travelling with Will and Tom.

 

While, the movie is shot an incredibly innovative way, the plot itself does not make a lot of parallel innovative moves. The idealistic basis of the story is not unlike war movies of the past such as Saving Private Ryan (1998).

 

This is not to say the movie isn’t action packed, but the emotion that the audience draws from a movie like 1917 is vested in the suspense and tension from the constant fear that our protagonists will be ambushed or make a wrong move.

 

With this in mind, fans of suspenseful horror movies and gripping dramas may enjoy this movie more than the traditional war movie connoisseur. 

 

Cinema-heads writ large will no doubt adore the pure acting chops and camera work. It has 10 Oscar nominations for a reason. MacKay’s performance is electric and Sam Mendes makes a bold and blemish-less shift from past works like Skyfall (2012). 

 

Overall this is a must see and I highly encourage you to see it as soon as possible, if nothing else just to take in the beautiful shots that are filtered in throughout the movie. 

 

Overall Rating: 9.1/10.