I’ll be honest – I am not a fan of war movies. When I was invited to a special preview of Sam Mendes’ 1917(Universal Pictures), I really had to think long and hard about this one. My oldest son wanted to see this movie, so I decided to venture far out of my comfort zone and check it out.
I’m not going into spoilers here, and I can easily talk a lot about this movie without spoiling anything. Universal Pictures will release the film domestically in limited release on December 25, 2019 and wide on January 10, 2020.
About the Movie
At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (Captain Fantastic’s George MacKay) and Blake (Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them.
In a nutshell, that is really all you need to know without spoiling anything.
This is a one-shot movie
A one-shot film is a movie that is filmed in one long take with a single camera. In the case of 1917, it was most likely manufactured to appear to be one continuous scene. And in the case of this film, it really works.
Why Should I See This Movie?
Imagine yourself sitting at a table, listening to your grandfather tell an old war story. The movie is loosely based on a fragment of a story told to director Mendes by his own grandfather. It is a war movie, but not a war movie, all at the same time. It’s a piece of history. There is fighting, death, dead bodies – all the elements for a good war flick, but not so much that that is all you see. The landscape is stunning. The attention to detail is near meticulous. I really felt that this is more of a story than a war movie.
The actual plot could be considered weak. You know what is going on. Predictability is spot on, but still interesting enough to watch. There were a few cringe-worthy scenes, but nothing too disturbing or over the top. The continuous run of the scene helps to keep you in the moment.
One thing I found very interesting was the use of silence in this movie. There are a few scenes where you could almost hear a pin drop. This did help to intensify what was happening at the moment.
Benedict Cumberbatch? Richard Madden? Colin Firth?
The main stars of this film are Captain Fantastic’s George MacKay and Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman. As young soldiers on a dangerous mission, you can see the fear in their eyes and the bravery in their hearts.
Things to be aware of
1917 is rated R. While there are no adult overtones in this movie, the F word is used a lot. This is a World War 1 movie, so there are many, many scenes where the landscape is littered with casualties of war. There are loud moments with explosions.
My Overall Take
I am glad I ventured out of my comfort zone with this movie. This is not a movie I would have seen on my own. It made for a great mother/son night out and we enjoyed lots of conversation regarding the war and our thoughts on this movie afterward. And of course, any chance to see Richard Madden, Benedict Cumberbatch or Colin Firth is worth it.
If you think this is a “guy’s movie,” you are wrong. A few of my friends have said: “my husband/boyfriend wants to see that movie and I told him to have fun!” Go see this movie with your significant other! It’s a great opportunity for a date night, and thought-provoking conversation after. It is more of a story than a war movie.