Last year, Peter Jackson gave audiences the revolutionary WWI picture They Shall Not Grow Old. Its use of 100-year-old footage with today’s technology gave us the clearest picture of that time. I was awestruck by it. Now we have another WWI movie, and it too left me in awe.
1917 tells the simple story of two British soldiers traveling across the frontlines in order to deliver a message to a battalion that is being lured into a trap. It’s execution on the other hand is complicated. Instead of filming separate shots and editing them together, 1917 (for the most part) is just one, long continuous shot that follows the soldiers on their journey. Obviously, they didn’t actually shoot the entire movie in one take, but for the majority of the time, it’s pretty flawless. I even gave myself a challenge and tried to find the cuts, but aside from some pretty obvious ones, I missed several it turns out. The ingenuity and creativity involved in making this motion picture is a triumph. It does an exceptional job of capturing the horror and heartache of the war, and it does so with its simple yet effective story, with the audience being placed within the harrowing setting.
The camerawork isn’t the only thing that is great about this movie. The sets, the landscapes, the costumes, the choreography--everything was extremely planned out and brilliantly crafted. I was overly impressed with No Man’s Land. The mud, ditches, holes, corpses, etc. all told an incredibly scary story without much context. Even if you had no knowledge of WWI, this scene alone can send shivers down your spine and give you the impression of how bad things were in the early 20th century. The props and costumes were very articulate and precise with their realism. Someone clearly did their homework in history class. In fact, you could probably learn something new just by watching this movie. They Shall Not Grow Old gave us the most accurate visual representation of this historical event, but 1917 gives us the best immersive experience of The Great War to date.
The actors were astounding in this movie. It’s hard enough to act out scenes in the regular way, but remembering your lines, choreography, and even ad libbing in this movie must have taken a tremendous exertion on their part. Climbing around the trenches, fighting in the ruins of cities, and running across a battlefield is so breathtaking in this movie because of these actors. You sense the fear, the tension, the tremendous heavyweight that they experience, and it’s not because they tell you how they’re feeling or thinking. They are merely reacting to the world around them happening in (almost) real time. For instance, it’s so impressive to watch one of the actors escape Nazi pursuers, find solace in sitting in the woods, then getting up and frantically working his way through trenches and avoiding death in a major battle--all in one shot! This is such a unique way to extract emotion out of the audience, and without the actors’ ability to push themselves to their physical limit, this just wouldn’t be able to work as well as it did.
1917 is such an emotional, engaging, and bombastic way to start off the new year. If you were disappointed with December’s offerings, there’s no need to worry for this month. We have a truly unique and awesome movie that reminds us about the horrors of history, and hopefully by learning from it, we can make our century better for us and for our children.
12/11/2020 06:50:14 am
I do not have a lot of time to watch movies, which is why I read some reviews first. From this review that you had, I can say that this is worth watching. I do not have a lot of time in my hands, but I will make some time for this movie. I hope that I do not get disappointed by this. There is no reason for me to not enjoy a movie like this, am I right, man?
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