Directed by: Sam Mendes
Review by: Livi Edmonson
10-time Academy award-nominated film, “1917” is the war drama that you should see on-screen as quickly as possible. Also, make sure to see it on a big screen, for it is made for Imax and cineplex massive screen viewings. Directed by critically-acclaimed Sam Mendes of “Skyfall” (2012) and “American Beauty” (1999), this Oscar-bait stars bright faces, Dean Chapman and George MacKay as two British soldiers, Lance Cpl. Blake and Lance Cpl. Schofield, who must cross over into enemy territory in order to deliver an important message that could save the lives of 1,600 of their fellow soldiers --- including Blake’s brother.
The movie not only captures the horrors of World War 1 with its beautiful cinematography, but also the persevering moments of faith that lie within the youth and charisma of the two protagonists. Including one extensive shot on the battlefront, “1917” is a sure winner for “Best Cinematography” among other editing accolades at the 2020 Academy awards. Although the film can sometimes lag because it does only take place in a short period of time, the cinematic landscape keeps the film afloat all the while giving audiences a taste of what it is like to be in the young soldiers’ shoes via this continuous battle front shot that Mendes invites the audience to join into.
Although their screen time is not as extensive as the two main actors, there are quite a few bigger names in the film including that of Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Richard Madden. Because the film is led entirely by arguably two actors, it is of utter importance that the casting is perfect. Although I was hesitant at first, I have to say that George MacKay and Dean Chapman definitely hold the audience accountable of being locked in to every single scene --- as haunting as some of them might be.
All in all, “1917” is the drama everyone is talking about right now. It is intense, gritty, and deeply emotional. I will admit that war films are at this point, redundant, but this WWI epic somehow finds a way to keep history interesting with this never-been-told, based on true events story. Of course, Academy voters love this film because it takes dramatic filmmaking to a whole new level without being too edgy or risky despite its perilous plot. If you like war epics, then you should definitely check this one out in theaters while it is on the big screen before the hype dies down. Do I think it deserves to win “Best Picture” like some have predicted at this year’s Oscars? Well, not necessarily, for as I just mentioned, it does not take the risks that many films should be celebrated for this year. However, I do think it deserves to take over various other intricate categories because let’s face it: this film probably took a year in itself to even edit it. I give it a 7/10 --- but I wish there had been more Colin Firth!