*SPOILER FREE REVIEW*
A Nearly Perfect War Film That Touches On Every Emotional Beat
Directed by Sam Mendes, 1917 is one of the finest war films that I can recall. It’s simple, haunting, dramatic, riveting, and a solid candidate for best film of 2019. Based on a true story, 1917 had me on edge of my seat wondering how this would all end. I didn’t know anything about the real-life story until after watching the film. I was expecting the unexpected which made me stay alert during the entire run time. I was almost expecting a typical war ending that I’ve seen several times before such as in Saving Private Ryan. Fortunately, that was not the case and I was perfectly fine. 1917 might just be one of the best WWI films and one of the best war flicks of all time.
The plot is rather simple. Two soldiers are tasked to embark on a treacherous journey across German territory to warn of a friendly battalion to call off their forces from their impending doom. That is much easier said than done and boy is the journey harrowing. Not only is it about escaping danger and avoiding the enemy, it is also about the horrors of wars and demonstrating compassion through thick and thin.
The film does a great job giving us a breath from the action in between with scenes that have a lot of meaning. The pacing may be slow in these parts, but I always had a feeling of something going wrong even in those instances. Nobody was ever safe even when the characters were away from danger. There was never a dull moment for me. I was excited to see how this story would conclude.
Plot Score: 4.75/5.00
Our protagonist happens to be played by an incredibly talented actor. George Mackay isn’t a super well known actor, but I believe this might be his first true breakout performance. He plays Will Schofield who brings a great performance showing a versatile acting range. Since war movies usually don’t have sequels, I almost wished we could see more of Mackay as Will Schofield. Everyone else played their roles really well even if for a few minutes. Schofield’s partner, Tom Blake (Dean Charles Chapman) also plays a crucial role in Schofield’s purpose of the mission especially right at the very end. Both lead actors worked well together to the bitter end showing the lenghts they are willing to go in their most important mission of their lives.
Character Score: 4.75/5.00
This movie is the epitome of a Best Picture nominee. Not only was the plot, acting, and music top notch, it is a gorgeous movie to gloss over even on mute. The continuous shot made it stand it from just about any other film in existence. At first, I thought the continuous picture might hamper it because we might not get to see the bigger picture of the war. However, I think this use of camera makes the journey much more personal to the audience. The music connected with me. Every beat, every note, every pitch made me feel a part of the action. The costumes, weapons, and landscape were also picture perfect. This is clearly a high-budget film with a budget close to a $100 million. Most was impressive how much they could do without the budget of other box office juggernauts such as Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Aesthetics Score: 5.00/5.00
There isn’t more to say about 1917 that hasn’t been already said. Because it is a character driven film, it may slightly bore those who aren’t paying attention to the dialogue or expecting a Saving Private Ryan D-day like battlefield. However, war movies aren’t just there for the spectacle. They are also prime examples showing us how it changes people and the harsh realities on the frontlines. The manner in which 1917 was presented convinced me that this is what war might be like. I wanted to know more about what happened after the credits rolled. I didn’t want it to end to be honest. This was a great sign that I was watching something I hadn’t seen before. 1917 will surely go down as one of the best war films because everything is executed to near perfection.
Overall Score: 4.75/5.00