Hollywood is rife with films covering the topic of war, especially World War I and II.
With the likes of Saving Private Ryan, All Quiet On The Western Front and Hacksaw Ridge, 1917 had a lot to live up to.
Or did it? There are actually only 130 films made about WWI, compared to the over 1,300 films made about WWII.
Besides the name, 1917 really didn’t make it clear that this movie showcased the first World War. For someone who only knows the basics of World War I, it would be near impossible to tell the difference between 1917 and nearly any other war movie.
Near impossible, rhat is, if it weren’t for the unique way it was filmed. Using extensive sets, stellar editing and convenient moments of darkness, Director Sam Mendes and Cinematographer Roger Deakins made this film appear as though it was filmed in one take. Even with today’s advancements in film technology, this feat is nothing short of incredible. No doubt filmmakers will be attempting to imitate this effect for years to come.
That being said, the cinematography was clearly the main focus of this film and, as a result, the plot took a hit. In 1917, Lance Corporals Schofield and Blake are instructed to deliver a message to the front lines.
Although it is possible to allow movies some kind of unrealistic leeway for the sake of the plot, it is difficult to let slide the fact that soldiers were never the ones to send these kinds of messages. Often, portable telephones and telegraphs were used for this purpose. Or, if absolutely necessary, carrier pigeons. Needless to say, the entire plot of 1917 was unlikely to have happened.
This film was quite an immersive experience, from the immaculate attention to detail with the sets and costumes, to the casting, with George MacKay bringing Lance Corporal William Schofeild to life quite effectively. While the plot is weak, it does manage to remain remarkably neutral in terms of political beliefs.
8/10 - Groundbreaking cinematography, Great Casting, Questionable plot