On Sunday (the12th), Jeff and I had a date night consisting of a movie and dinner. The dinner was Pequod’s (thanks to Jeff for showing me the light) and the movie of choice was 1917. Is it worth the price of admission? Here are our quick reviews to let you know.
I’ll repeat what I said over food – this was a great war movie but a incredible piece of cinema.
Starting with the former, the story is simple with razor sharp focus. It doesn’t spend time diving into characters or history. At just under 2 hours long, it doesn’t have time for that – and it doesn’t have to…we’re all familiar with WW1. The acting is fantastic, as is the dialog (which is really not that much now that I think on it). The audio and soundtrack work in perfect harmony and keep you in just enough suspense without stressing you out.
But enough about that, lets get down to the promise of a “one-take”. Now obviously, when you see it, you realize this is a few long takes stitched together. However, its done in such a way that it literally feels like one continuous shot with no breaks for anyone, including the audience. I’ve never seen anything like it, that is to say, so flawlessly presented. I can’t give this enough praise so I’ll stop.
Overall, this is a must see for fans of the cinema and I can’t wait for it to release for home viewing.
War movies are so hard to get right. Every time one is made, I always find myself, unfairly, comparing to to Saving Private Ryan. Which typically means I’m let down because Saving Private Ryan remains the Gold Standard to which all war movies will be measured. However, while watching 1917, I did not find myself making that comparison.
WW1, in my opinion, is something that is not covered in film, media, or even history as much as it should be. WW2 is always the setting for most war movies; its covered the most in depth in history; it’s always seen as the biggest and most important. Which then leads to WW1 being the step-child that does not get its due credit. I think this is why 1917 was such a refreshing take for me. It explored something in film that has rarely gotten that type of treatment before – trench warfare.
The set pieces for the film were breathtaking in scope. Especially due to how it was filmed, the set pieces had to be massive in scale. Everything about them seemed realistic. The audience could feel like they were on the journey along with the characters as they moved from one place to the next.
The story was actually quite simple – travel from point A to B and deliver a message in time. That’s all there was to it. There was little to no character development, and there was a relative lack of dialogue. Everything in the film was about moving forward and trying to stay alive. They created this sense of urgency and a bit of anxiety that you could feel. Christopher Nolan tried to capture this in Dunkirk, but I think 1917 did a much better job at accomplishing this.
I cannot say enough about the cinematography on this film. It is the single thing that sets it apart from your average war movie. The sets were gorgeous, the long tracking shots were genius, and the effects were visually beautiful. This is a film that is designed to be seen in the theater. I absolutely recommend seeing it in the theater and not waiting to watch it at home. A small screen simply will not do it justice.