Coming to theatres from writer/director Sam Mendes and Universal Pictures comes the story of two young men who try and stop a fatal mistake of war in 1917.
In northern France, Lance Corporals Blake and Schofield are given one of the most dangerous missions. Learning that the Germans have retreated, the British 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment is preparing to attack. When it is discovered to be a trap, a message needs to be delivered to call it off.
Among the 1,600 men preparing is Blake’s brother so he volunteers to take a message to commander of the Battalion to stop. Schofield isn’t very happy about being a part of the mission but goes with his friend Blake.
Through trenches, explosions, dogfights, rigged bunkers and snipers in a destroyed village, the mission becomes even more crucial with ever step to save the soldiers who don’t know what is coming.
Bravery has no limits.
Chapman as Corp. Blake knows only one thing – he needs to stop the attack. Yes, it could be said his volunteering seemed motivated by family, but Chapman’s portrayal made me believe he would have done it no matter what or who.
Mackay as Schofield doesn’t start off with the same quality. Feeling forced to take on the mission, we as the viewing audience experience his change. He is still afraid but determined to finish what was started.
These two actors carry the weight of the story squarely on their shoulders. A difficult task in a film set to a harsh time in history and yet these two actors swoop us up for the experience without any fight from us.
1917 is a time of young men going to war with the basics of everything. Yes, there were weapons and crude by todays technological standards, so it is stunning people survived at all. Mendes makes sure we are fully aware of it in every frame from start to finish.
In telling this story, Mendes enlists the like of Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Daniel Mays, Billy Postlewaite, Andy Apollo and Mark Strong to complete the road this film takes us down.
1917 is a start to the senses with a continual tension line to the very end. It works beautifully and the proof is in the two Golden Globe awards for Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director for Sam Mendes. That is all before the wide release this Friday. 1917 has won 48 awards with 154 nominations and all this before Oscar nominations have been announced.
Mendes edited the film to be one continual shot. “You don’t want an audience thinking how you shot the film, it’s a constant dance between character and landscape and you have to allow for constant movement and create a real experience.” The story is inspired by Mendez grandfather’s experience with “The Autobiography of Alfred H. Mendes: 1897-1991.”
1917 is heartfelt and heart stopping wrapped up in an intense story of sacrifice, bravery and the ugly reality that is war. It has everything that an epic war film should but add serious intensity and it will have viewers leaving the theatre talking about Oscars.
In the end – time is the enemy!