1917 (2019) – Review

The heroic tale of two young British soldiers who are sent to deliver an urgent message through enemy territory to an isolated regiment that are readying themselves for battle, completely unaware of the trap that has been set before them by the enemy combatants. Thousands of men face imminent execution in this race against time survival tale – an intense and equally as gripping cinematic experience from start to finish that will leave you on the edge of your seat throughout.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Director: Sam Mendes
Writers:  Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Starring: Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay

1917 is an intense look into what life was like for the soldiers that fought in World War 1, a movie that makes us realise just how privileged we are as a society to have avoided such atrocities. From the off, it draws you in with long take after long take and does not let you go. Many would even argue that the movie was shot in such a way that it made the viewer feel like they were part of the journey too, alongside the soldiers trawling through no man’s land and trying to finish their mission of saving thousands of allies.

If as a viewer you are hoping for pure combat scenes and action throughout, then you may find yourself disappointed – this one isn’t that. In fact, the leads do their best to avoid combat in some instances and focus solely on their objective of getting to the isolated regiment that are fraught with danger. There’s slow creeping tension in most of the movie and the makers did a superb job of making you feel the terror, horror and sheer hopelessness of everything that was happening around them. Let’s also not forget about the cinematography and soundtrack that complement the film from start to finish – both are stunning and some of the visuals (particularly the long takes) will leave you in awe.

It wasn’t just an intense and suspenseful movie either, it contained unbelievably strong and powerful scenes along with elements of shock and surprise that make you jump out of your seat. A potent sense of dread lingered and steadily you were taught to expect the worst from each scene, especially when early on one of the lead characters faces an uncertain future after wrongfully placing his trust with an enemy in danger.

The lead stars were relatively unknown – Dean-Charles Chapman adopted the role of Lance Corporal Blake but maybe more impressively, George MacKay shone in the role of Lance Corporal Schofield. The cameos were a pleasant surprise too, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden and Daniel Mays all popped up and didn’t look out of place once.

Overall, this is up there as the movie of the year and it wouldn’t surprise me if it takes many of the awards that it has been nominated for. 1917 will leave you breathless and for many like myself, filled with emotion during the journey.

“There is only one way this war ends. Last man standing.”

Colonel MacKenzie – 1917

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