1917: a movie review

1917. A must watch movie about war.

1917. A must watch movie about war.

   Have you ever heard of a movie winning the Golden Globe for Best Drama before it was even released to mainstream audiences?  As we head into the season of mundane and mind-numbing movies that usually release in January and February, one movie stands out. 1917 is a new World War 1 epic and is the most intense movie you will see since Zero Dark Thirty. The movie follows 2 British privates (Dean-Charles Chapman and George Mackay) sent on a mission by their General (Colin Firth). They are commanded to deliver a warning of an ambush across enemy lines to Colonel Mackenzie (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is leading his men into a giant trap.

   One of 1917s main attributes is the directing by Sam Mendes (American Beauty and Skyfall). The film is edited in a way that makes it seem like it was all one shot with no edits or obvious cuts in the movie; it is extremely difficult to pull off and can sometimes feel like a gimmick and doesn’t add anything to the movie. 1917 makes it work in a way that makes you feel like you are one of the Privates trudging through muddy trenches and sprinting through enemy battlefields in World War I.

   When you watch the characters sit down to take a break, you can’t help but sit at the edge of your seat, scanning their surroundings to make sure they are safe. Since they never really are, there is this feeling of constant danger throughout the entire film that keeps you on the edge of your seat and your heart racing for 2 hours. This is an incredible achievement in filmmaking that cannot be ignored.

   If I was to be nit-picky and point out flaws, I would say that there could have been more character development throughout the film to add a little more weight to the life or death moments. However, it is understandable to sacrifice character development to focus on the grand scale of warfare. If the movie made it seem more like the main characters were best friends, 1917 would reach All-Time status for best war movies.

   Overall, 1917 cannot be passed up when you are looking for a movie to watch in January. The Daily Cardinal called it “The Best war movie since ‘Saving Private Ryan.’” Mendes did a beautiful job directing this one, creating a two-hour anxiety-filled spectacle that gives you the feeling as if you lived through it. Chapman and Mackay carry the movie as well as add levity. 1917 gets a 9.5/10 for me and I am rooting for it this award season.