1917 Spoiler-Free Review; "In Terms Of Pure Filmmaking, You Won't See A Better Film In 2020"

1917 Spoiler-Free Review; "In Terms Of Pure Filmmaking, You Won't See A Better Film In 2020"

1917 <font color=red>Spoiler-Free</font> Review; "In Terms Of Pure Filmmaking, You Won't See A Better Film In 2020"

Sam Mendes' 1917 has dethroned Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at the box office this weekend but is the hype surrounding the recent Golden Globes winner justified? You can find our verdict right here...

In terms of pure filmmaking, you won't see a better film in 2020 than 1917. Presented as one continuous shot, it's never not fascinating to watch the action play out on screen (all while attempting to figure out how on Earth director Sam Mendes managed to pull it off). Just don't be surprised if you find yourself thinking more about how it was made than the story itself! As an exploration of the horrors of World War I, it works well as British soldiers Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) embark on a perilous journey through enemy territory after being assigned to hand deliver a message which will call off an attack and save the lives of 1600 men from the Germans. 

The two leads are nothing short of excellent and, along the way, they're joined by a star-studded cast made up of names like Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden, Mark Strong, and Colin Firth. MacKay's earnest performance is quiet and understated (much of the second half of the film has no dialogue) but you won't be able to take your eyes off him in this heart-pounding race against time. 

Make no mistake about it: 1917 is a thrilling ride and while big budget blockbusters continue to dominate theaters, it's refreshing that a war movie like this can come along and provide just as much excitment while pushing the boundaries of filmmaking. 

That intensity can be credited to the aforementioned tracking shot which proves to be both beneficial and detrimental to 1917. Due to the way the film is presented, everything happens in extremely close succession, something that makes it feel like a carefully choreographed, meticulously planned series of set pieces (all of which happen at the right place at the right time) rather than events which are naturally occurring. It hits all the beats you'd expect from a war movie but they happen so rapidly that they sometimes fail to leave an impact as there's no time to catch your breath, especially as things essentially happen in "real-time." In some respects, it feels like that's the point as Mendes clearly wants to bring the audience into this bleak and terrifying warzone and make them experience being there. However, it's a method of storytelling which falls somewhere between distracting and engrossing but if you're able to entirely suspend your disbelief and ignore this apparent series of coincidences, you can add another star to the score below. 

From a technical standpoint, though, 1917 is unbeatable and it's easy to see why Mendes picked up that Golden Globe last weekend. The way the film is edited to give the impression that it never cuts away from what's happening on screen is nothing short of mind-blowing and the whole package makes for exciting, edge of your seat viewing from start to finish; the eventual Blu-ray promises to be an essential purchase just to delve into how the Skyfall director managed to piece it all together. Throw in Roger Deakins' incredible cinematography and Thomas Newman's suitably sweeping score and there's enough here to ensure the film stands a strong chance of continuing its recent awards success at the Oscars. 

A stunning technical achievement, 1917 might just be Sam Mendes' best film yet but this well choreographed series of events play out too neatly to ensure the horrors of war will leave a lasting impact.

IF
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