1917 – Review

1917 quickly establishes itself as one of the cinema’s best war films with groundbreaking cinematography and a bombastic score.

Directed by Sam Mendes, 1917 stars George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch. Loosely based on stories told to the director by his grandfather, 1917 is rooted in the brutality, bravery, and fear that comes with war.

1917 focuses on two British soldiers during World War I. George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman plays the two young soldiers, who are set on a mission to prevent the loss of countless British lives at the Hindenburg Line during Operation Alberich in 1917. 1917‘s plot is simple, yet effective. The story covers the journey of two men from the opening sequence up until the final shot. There is no point in the film where it cuts to a different character or a different perspective. Each moment felt real, organic and most of all focused on the story of two young soldiers fighting to survive. The plot works wonderfully because of this laser-like focus, though the true mark of mastery comes with the cinematography.

Universal Pictures

The Director of Photography for 1917 was the legendary Roger Deakins. Deakins, who is known for films like Blade Runner 2049, has a resume that speaks for itself and 1917 may have been his best work yet. 1917 was filmed with the intention to look and feel like one continuous take. This was done with incredible precision by the director and DOP, using long takes and moving camera shots to fully immerse the audience into the film. The film on a visual level is absolutely flawless. Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins perfectly crafted the film around George MacKay to bring a film experience like no other. With the effect of one long take for the entirety of the run time, the audience feels each struggle that the plot weaves through. As the two soldiers go through all types of terrain, running through forests, war-torn trenches, and abandoned towns, the audience is literally following the cast through all of it, making for an incredible experience.

Overall, 1917 has established itself as one of the best war films of all time. The incredible cinematography, powerful score and strong performance by the lead actor combine to create a brutally honest take of World War I.