‘1917’ brings viewers to the front lines


Lance Corporal William Schofield (George George MacKay) must complete a dire mission in delivery a message to call off an offensive attack and save hundreds of lives. Courtesy of Universal Pictures

With beautiful cinematography, technical work and raw emotion, “1917″ takes the war movie genre to a new level.

The film takes place during WWI and focuses on two British soldiers, Corporal William Schofield (George MacKay) and Corporal Tom Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), as they try to complete the grueling task of bringing a message to another troop in order to call off an attack that could save hundreds of soldiers.

Sam Mendes’ film “1917” is one that deserves the praise this award season. 

I will say that the dialogue is surface level and dull at times, but it serves the purpose of illustrating what an average, yet gruesome day was like for these characters. However, a notable performance was from Mackay as Schofield, as he gives a natural, easy performance as much of the cast does. 

The film shines is in its camera work and cinematography. From a technical level, this film is absolutely gorgeous. Cinematographer Roger Deakins does an outstanding job playing with light and shadows to paint what occasionally looks like biblical, even apocalyptic scenes. My favorite moment was a shot of Schofield running through the remains of the French city, Écoust, which is surely one of the most memorable and beautiful sequences of the film.

Although there are rumors going around of the movie being filmed in “one take”, it’s technically not. However, it is edited and filmed in such a way that makes the viewer feel like they are along for the ride, joining Corporal Schofield and Corporal Blake on a heartbreaking and eye-opening journey. For the first hour, it truly does feel like one long take, which is what gives it a raw, almost documentary style that makes every wound hit  harder and every loss more painful.

“1917” is everything you would expect from a WWI movie, with an added sense of realism that feels alive. Every step of the way is like taking a walk back into the trenches. 

Linguistically, the film isn’t so nuanced. What makes it worth the watch is the care and attention to the visual aspect. 

I fully expect this film to secure a few Oscar wins and would suggest watching this film even after award season if you are interested in a gratifying and immersive experience.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Danielle Kesler can be reached at [email protected] or @reserv0irpups on Twitter.