by Soma Brodhun
Basically: A haunting vignette of trench warfare.
In 1917, two British soldiers take the audience along on a mission to deliver vital intel to troops stationed deep inside enemy occupied territory during the First World War. Directed and produced by Sam Mendes (who also wrote the screenplay with Krysty Wilson-Cairns), the film is based on stories told to Mendes by his grandfather, author Alfred Mendes, about his experiences during WWI.
1917 features heartbreaking and raw performances by its lead actors, George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman who play Lance Corporal Schofield and Lieutenant Leslie respectively. The film also has some short but striking cameos from Colin Firth, Andrew Scott, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Richard Madden.
Photo by Francois Duhamel © 2019 Universal Pictures and Storyteller Distribution Co. LLC.
The movie’s cinematography is mesmerizing and masterful, giving the appearance of one long shot as we follow the mission from beginning to end on the fateful day on the battlefield. The attention to detail and effort put into maintaining historical accuracy is astonishing and award-worthy.
This film also does not shy away from the horrific and gruesome truths of war. It
is unapologetic in its portrayal of violence, the wounded, and the aftermath of
battle as well as the zombie-like acceptance of the soldiers waiting around for their next order.
In the End: Go see it! Not only is 1917 one of the few films that depicts WWI, it’s one of the most realistic (and therefore graphic and disturbing) portrayals of trench warfare I’ve seen on the big screen.