1917 ★★★★½

IMDb Rating | 8.6
Humpo Show Rating | 9.0
Starring: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch Daniel Mays, Adrian Scarborough 
Director: Sam Mendes 
Plot Summary: Two young British soldiers during the First World War are given an impossible mission: deliver a message deep in enemy territory that will stop 1,600 men, and one of the soldiers’ brothers, from walking straight into a deadly trap. (IMDb)

1917 film

1917 is an epic, biographical tale of Lance Corporals Will Schofield (MacKay) and Tom Blake (Chapman), who traversed several miles of enemy territory to deliver an urgent message that would prevent British troops from walking into a trap set by Nazi Germany.

The films follows two British soldiers’ journey during the First World War as they travel several miles to warn Colonel Mackenzie that the Germans’ retreat is part of a planned strategic withdrawal to new positions on the shorter and more easily defended Hindenburg Line – the military operation was codenamed Operation Alberich.

1917 feels like it is filmed in one single shot such is the flow that Mendes and editor Lee Smith have achieved through long sequences. There is a notable nine-minute one take scene near the end the film that has attracted much acclaim. And so it should have! The film, centred on a bold cinematic style, has left myself and many others enraptured by the intense and often claustrophobic journey through the battlefields of northern France.

The cinematography, sound, visual effects and editing are rightfully up for awards, including the BAFTAs and Oscars. The acclaimed Oscar-winner Roger Deakins has brought Mendes’ vision to the big screen in superb fashion. His work in Blade Runner 2049 is the best I have seen and I use that as the yardstick for all films that have good cinematography. One moment from 1917 that stood out to me was when Schofield reached the bombed-out village of Écoust-Saint-Mein. The dark and deep red visual tones, coupled with the ominous score made for an invigorating and enthralling scene. Those moments in the little French town were great to watch and I still have them etched in my mind.

1917 portrays the experience of Schofield – a true story by the way – as an epic and fascinating spectacle that lives long in the memory.

Richard | The Humpo Show

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