By James Davidson
In the new movie “1917”, two young British soldiers in the First World War, Lance Corporal Blake (played by Dean-Charles Chapman) and Lance Corporal Schofield (George Mackay), are given an impossible mission. The two young men must sneak deep into enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop 1,600 men, including Lance Corporal Blake’s brother, from walking into a German trap and being slaughtered.
Ever since I saw the previews for this film, I’ve been very excited for it to come out. I love war movies and this one looked beautifully made. I also read that this movie was going to be all one continuous camera shot, something that to my knowledge has only been done a handful of times. The film was also winning a lot of awards before it’s national release. It seemed like the more I heard about this movie, the more interested I became in seeing it. I was beginning to worry if it could live up to the hype it was receiving.
For me, this movie definitely lived up to everything I was expecting. It was beautifully shot. The one continuous shot filming was almost seamless and felt very intimate. It took me right into the trenches with the two soldiers and really helped me experience the wonder, beauty, and the horrors that they encountered. The transitions between scenes of peacefulness and beauty to the brutality of trench warfare was incredible. The fact that the director was able to show such contrast without cutting away from the scene at all was breathtaking. Even if you don’t understand much about the artful side of filmmaking, you should be able to appreciate the artfulness in this movie.
The continuous shot also drove the pace of the movie forward. There is some downtime in the plot, but the story is paced wonderfully. Everytime I felt like I was getting overwhelmed with how much was going on, there was a slight break in the action to allow me to catch my breath. And there was a lot to have to catch my breath from. This is a war movie and the subject matter can get very heavy and dark throughout most of the film. There are some beautiful, peaceful scenes that cut through some of the heaviness, but you never forget that war and death is right over the next hill.
I thought the plot was very well-written and incredibly engrossing. It’s a very emotional movie. I felt an attachment to the main characters and their mission early on and was very invested in the outcome almost from the beginning. The writers did an amazing job at bringing me into the movie at an emotional level and enveloping me into the story and the characters.
The acting is another reason that this movie is so engrossing. There are a lot of very talented actors in this film and all of them live up to their billing. Even the ones I didn’t recognize did an amazing job at bringing the characters to life. While the plot did a lot to draw me into the movie, the acting is what brought the movie to life. All of the characters were convincing and really made me feel like I was witnessing something happening in WW I.
“1917” is rated R for violence, some disturbing images, and language. This is not a movie that you should take your children to see. There are a lot of battle scenes, with a lot of battlefield gore. This is a movie that you should go see with other adults and everyone should be prepared for a significant amount of heavy content that shows the horrors of war, but also subtle moments of beauty in the same shot.
“1917” is a beautiful movie that can show deep contrasts of death and destruction against peace and beauty. The fact that it is shot in one long continuous shot only adds to the beauty and really helps you connect more with the movie on an intimate level. I will definitely be seeing this again and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good movie. It earns 5 out of 5 stars.