Movie Review: 1917 (2019)

Synopsis: During the peak of World War I, the German Army seems to be on full retreat but is actually setting up a trap for the 1600 British troops in pursuit of them. Lance Corporals Blake and Schofield are ordered to deliver orders stopping the advancement, forcing them to cross the infamous No Man's Land. As an added incentive for carrying out the mission, Blake's older brother is one of the men about to walk into the trap.

Who's in it? The movie stars Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays, Colin Firth and Pip Carter.

Review: I've seen previews of this movie before but didn't get an opportunity to watch it until last night, while waiting for my wife to return from one of her friend's going away party. It wasn't quite what I was expecting but proved to be a good film, partly as a result of that.

I think the thing I like best about this movie is the way it is filmed in two long and continuous shots. It gives the viewer the feeling of being on the front lines at the same time as the protagonists, feeling claustrophobic at times because of the narrow trenches they had to walk through and kept the suspense building because you never knew which seemingly abandoned building or blind corner had an enemy sniper or booby trap waiting for them. This made some of the things that happened a total surprise.

The imagery was equally as impressive, giving a clear view of what the real No Man's Land must have felt like. I think the best way I could describe it is it felt a little like a zombie movie at times, minus the zombies. The dead bodies, burned out buildings and abandoned weapons left it easy to imagine what had happened prior to arriving and gave a good glimpse of what might happen down the road.

Being me, I did question the logic of sending just two men to deliver such an important message given the seemingly impossible odds. I also wondered why they wouldn't have just delivered it using an airplane. However, as a student of history, I have come to accept a lot of things in war don't make a whole lot of sense and I think the fact there were potential alternatives did add a little something as well. At minimum, this movie proved the futility of war.

Final Opinion: It's not your typical war movie and I mean that in a good way. I enjoyed watching the film and highly recommend it.

My Grade: A


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