1917 is a remarkable film that allows moviegoers to experience, virtually firsthand, one day in the life of a soldier during the First World War. The plot involves two young British soldiers, Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay) and Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), who are given an important but seemingly impossible mission: deliver a message deep in enemy territory that will prevent 1,600 men, including one of the soldier’s brother, from walking straight into a deadly trap
The movie is based on a true story that was told to Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) by his paternal grandfather, Alfred. 1917 won the two highest honors at the Golden Globes on Sunday night—Best Picture Drama and Best Director. It was released on Christmas Day in Los Angeles and New York City to qualify for the 2020 awards season.
1917 is filmed as if it takes place in real time. Thanks to the editing of Oscar winner Lee Smith (Dunkirk), the movie appears to have been made in one, long, continuous, unedited shot. Instead of being a gimmicky distraction, this technique immerses you right into the action, whether it is Schofield ducking from a sniper’s bullets or the Lance Corporals marching through the muddy, rat infested trenches, where some of their comrades are trying to get a minute of shut-eye before heading back onto the battlefield again.
The film’s spectacular cinematography by Oscar winner Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049) is the year’s best.
Will 1917 clean up at the Oscars on February 9, 2020? While it’s doubtful the film will earn any acting or writing nominations, 1917 will easily earn a minimum of 7 Oscar nominations—including Best Picture and Director nods, and nominations for virtually every technical award. The film is the largest and best technical achievement of cinema in the past year.
1917 is one of those movies that was made to (and must) be watched on the biggest screen available and in a theater that has impeccable sound (Dolby Atmos, if possible). If there is only one movie you pay to see in theaters this Oscar season, it should be 1917.
The film is my third favorite movie of 2019. Here is the complete list of my Top 10 favorite movies of 2019.
1917 Review by Tim Nasson