1917 is gripping. The plot is simple, Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and his friend Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay) need to get a message to Colonel MacKenzie (Benedict Cumberbatch). Blake has a brother in the other camp which is why he is chosen for the mission. Best in a pair, not a large group, as they are going deep in enemy territory, Blake brings Schofield.
The duo leave immediately, carrying the message instructing Colonel MacKenzie to call off the enemy attack in the morning as it is a trap. It feels like an impossible mission. While Lance Corporal Blake seems to be the obvious choice for his relationship with the other camp, the brother factor makes him more emotionally charged which could be a liability.
The film starts quickly and never lets up. It’s not just the unexpected that makes this movie great, but the way it syncs your heart to beat with the background music. The way you hear the squishing through mud when it splatters on their boots. My husband Greg isn’t very jumpy, but even he recoiled at an explosion, the effects pushing viewers back in their seat as if they were the ones hit.
You root for these British soldiers as they make their way one hurdle at a time. They meet other people along the way, bringing a dash of humor or a glimpse of romance, but the fog of paranoia that something bad is around the corner, never leaves. There are rampant rivers, gun shots galore, messy barbed wire, and dead bodies littering the film, but it’s not the action that makes it so good, it’s the way they can capture and control how the audience feels that makes this an experience. Greg believes the film was, “a perfect simulation. I have not jumped that much in a movie. The cinematography is excellent.”
Movie times: click here
Genre: Drama, War
Run Time: 1 hours and 59 minutes
Directors: Sam Mendes
Actors: Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays
Rating: Rated R for violence, some disturbing images, and language.
Fun Fact: Sections of the film were shot in and around Low Force, on the River Tees, Teesdale in June 2019. The production staff had to install signs warning walkers in the area not be alarmed by the bodies strewn around the site as they were prosthetic.