Wow. This was an incredible experience to watch, the sound, the look, the sense of dread and the set designs are all so well done. What more can I say, this was a well made movie in my opinion. Sam Mendes, the director, created a film that captures the feel of what it would’ve been like in WWI, all with the help of a special type of technique the camera men uses called one shot.
1917 is about 2 soldiers going behind enemy lines to deliver orders in an attempt to halt a march that will lead a battalion of 1,600 men to their deaths. The story is simple really, it’s a road trip style movie, with 2 soldiers going through ruined towns and aboundon trenches. It’s similar to Saving Private Ryan, with a squad of soldiers going from point A to point B, very straightforward with admittedly few reasons for you to feel invested in these characters (Lance Corporal Blake and Lance Corporal Schofield are the main character names). Admittedly, at least they didn’t introduce too many characters like Midway, they got that part right.
However, the movie’s greatest strength is it’s cinematography. Roger Deakins, the cinematographer, does a unique way to capture what it must’ve been like in WW1 using a camera technique called a one shot. One shot lets the camera roll without stopping it and closing it into black. They do this to the entire movie (sort of, with a few minor exceptions) even in action sequences they just roll the camera on. There’s a chase sequence that involves a town and flares in the sky that is intense, but I refuse to spoil it, all I’ll say is that it’s very intense to watch. The setting in the movie is very atmospheric, getting the feeling of what the soldiers had to go through in a WW1 type environment. With machine guns firing in the distance, the grime and mud the soldiers have to walk across ‘No Man’s Land’, the whirring sound of air fighters in the sky and the trench scene itself had an air of mess and claustrophobia in it.
Overall, I would recommend 1917 to anybody who loves a good ol’ war movie with stakes, action, and the dread of thriller too. To top it off too, the movie involves a brilliant one shot of the entire movie, a unique twist in the genere.