I finally found a war film that I absolutely love. 1917 is the latest effort from a very quality filmmaker in Sam Mendes. Sam Mendes has never made a film that I didn’t like and so seeing a new war film from him was something I was going to welcome with open arms. This film from opening frame is an absolute technical and emotional journey. Its worth a watch in the cinemas while you can and something I am looking to go see again when I can.
The film is about the journey of two British soldiers who are tasked with delivering an important message about an impending German ambush on British forces during Operation Alberich. The soldiers go on a long and dangerous journey in order to stop this massive planned attack. The film stars George McKay, Dean Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch. It is Sam Mendes’ first non Bond film since 2009.
The obvious must be stated first. I am a huge fan of long takes. Loved Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope which was a pioneer in that technique. Then we had memorable long takes through the years including one of my favorites for Gravity. This entire film is presented as one long take; a riveting continuous shot. It is absolutely incredible and completely contributes to the claustrophobic, frantic, and ever present war setting. Roger Deakins is a legend and needs another Academy Award for his work here. Simply incredible. Everything about the set was realistic. The bodies, dirt, and filth looked so authentic. For two hours you feel like you are in the trenches and in the war field, hearing every shot fired and every roaring plane overhead.
Technically the film is a brilliant achievement. It also composes of an excellent score, one that complements each changing scene in the film. So much went into how the film looks and I love that critics have been appreciating it. I had no problems with the fleeting characters and think the two initial leads and their bond is captured well enough. We are here for the journey which is ever changing and sporadic. Overall, this was an extremely pleasant way to end the year for me. One of the years very best.