Movie Point Of Lou – “1917” (SPOILER FREE)
Every now and again, a movie comes along and changes your perception of what a specific genre of movie can offer. 1917 is just such a movie. Eschewing the typical spectacle, bombast, and sweeping vistas of most war movies, and instead laser focusing it on the very personal journey of a pair of soldiers as they struggle against all odds to complete their mission.
Directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall, Jarhead), 1917 Takes place in France during WW1, which alone sets this movie apart from many of it’s contemporaries that tend to lean too heavily on World War 2. We all know of World War 1, but what Mendes so successfully accomplishes is capture the true horror of the “War To End All Wars”, from the horrible conditions in the trenches, to the the body’s strewn everywhere in No Man’s Land he so accurately captures the effects of (at the time) modern technology in what was a true war of attrition, where victory was measured in inches rather than miles, and at such great cost of human life (both physical and emotional). It also relies heavily on the viewer to be paying attention to every little detail, as a solitary decomposing hand sticking out of a mound of dirt, an eerily abandoned trench network, or a water filled, corpse laden bomb crater sets a tone and tension than no amount of dialogue could ever hope to muster.
Much has been made of the “Single Shot” technique utilized in the making of the film, and while it isn’t a “true” single shot, as the movie was composed of a handful of long takes seamlessly stitched together to create the illusion of a single shot, it is so expertly implemented that at times it feels like we are an active participant in the events and not just an omniscient viewer. It is especially poignant at two parts of the film, one takes place outside a burned out farmhouse, and the other a particularly haunting scene in a grove of trees. I won’t spoil either here, but suffice to say I was floored by Mendes’ directing ability in both.
All the performances were spectacular, it amazed me how so many big name actors such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden, Colin Firth and Mark Strong weaved seamlessly into the movie, never seeming out of place or “too big” for their scenes, and I guess this is what makes actors “actors” as they were able to generate such feeling, emotion and reverence to the subject matter, in what at the end of the day amounted to fleeting minutes of screen time. But as you would expect, it was the performances of the two lead actors Dean-Charles Chapman (Game Of Thrones), and George MacKay (Peter Pan) that absolutely stole the show. Their friendship, so deftly established in the first few minutes of the movie, was the lynch-pin on which 1917 hangs, and in an almost homage to Frodo and Samwise from Tolkien’s “Lord Of The Rings” It is that bond which propels the characters forward through what by all intents and purposes is a seemingly insurmountable task.
I am not one to be emotionally drawn into movies or television, and there are precious few that have ever managed this feat, 1917 is one of these movies. I have never felt so much fear, tension, joy and sadness while watching a movie, and it’s two hour run time absolutely flew by. I cannot recommend this movie enough, and suffice to say any awards it has been nominated for are more than well deserved. Do yourselves a favor, and make sure to catch this movie while it is in theaters, and if you have the chance, see it in IMAX as I’m sure it will be even MORE powerful in that format, I for one am going to search for an IMAX theater in my area that is showing it, as I most definitely want to experience it again on an even BIGGER screen.
Until Next Time Everyone,
Be Good To Your Fellow Nerd,