A story like any other told like none other.
The year is 1917 and the first World War is in full swing. In the art of war nothing is out of bounds if you’re looking to gain the upper hand, and so the Germans tactfully cut communications between the British.
Unfortunately this means there is no way of letting the Second Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment know that they are walking into a trap. Amongst the regiment is Lance Corporal Tom Blake’s (Dean-Charles Chapman) older brother, and as such he is tasked, along with his friend, Lance Corporal Will Schofield (George MacKay) to take a letter across enemy territory.
The Lance Corporal’s have less than twelve hours to deliver their message to the Devonshire’s and stop their scheduled attack, which could see hundreds slaughtered.
Let’s not beat around the bush – those long takes were absolutely epic. I’ve always loved the idea of a long take being pushed further and further and so when I learned that a whole movie what going to be comprised of a long take, I was immediately intrigued – even though I’m not typically a fan of ‘war movies’.
As we had such a narrow focus on who we followed and what we were seeing, in order to keep the audience intrigued, the main characters, had to be that right balance of likeable, interesting, and mildly layered. To which on all three counts I would say 1917 succeeded in both Tom and Will.
The rawness of LC Will Schofield’s words is what often caught me off guard and allowed me become more and more emotionally invested with the movie.
His character to me was a symbol, the subtle whispering voice on the issue of how futile and almost pointless the war was. That lives were wasted, innocent people were caught in the middle and when viewed in minute increments, it all seemed as though it was for nothing.
My second review of the year once again leaves very little to be criticised.
This film wouldn’t be nearly as interesting without the mechanism of the long take… then again you could also say this movie was kept purposely simple because of the intentional super long take.
I will say that when you deep it; the story line was almost too simple. Which is of course both understandable and clever in its effectiveness, but also hollow. When you try to explain to someone what the movie is about and why they should watch it; you inevitable come down to the cinematography and not much more.
I was scared to blink in case I missed anything – definitely not a concern I’m sure was shared amongst the masses but I thought I’d mention it nevertheless. My eyes were hawk like on the screen, both in making sure I didn’t miss a single detail but also in trying to find where they would have snuck in any cheeky cuts. I heard there were zero, but personally I think I saw three maybe four – any thoughts on this?
Fun facts about how 1917 was made and which actors had to show up every day even though they only had one small scene towards the end aside, – this movie was both okay and incredible. It’s hard to divide the two and if you’ve paid any attention to the above then you know I’ve tried.
If you’re into war films, and/or you are interested in the behind the scenes techniques of some pretty stellar filmmaking then go right on ahead and watch 1917, and be amazed. If neither of those things appeal to you. Stay home.