Published On: Thu, Dec 5th, 2019

Sam Mendes delivers a masterpiece with ‘1917’

1917 is a new World War I film from writer/director Sam Mendes (Skyfall, American Beauty) and may literally take the audience’s breath away.

Centering on two British soldiers, Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Game of Thrones star Dean-Charles Chapman), who are dispatched on an impossible mission, Mendes uses a one-shot technique to make the film a one continuous two-hour shot.

As seen in the trailer(s), MacKay and Blake go behind enemies lines to warn soldiers that the Germans are aware of their pending attack and it’s a trap. 1600 lives and Blake’s brother stand to die if the duo fail the astonishing journey.

Every hurdle is ripe with another challenge. For example, a trip wire discovered in a bunker seems easy enough to avoid until the rat infestation informs the characters and the viewers that a wrong move by the rodent will result in a deadly explosion. Cue some tension and a race towards another twisted plot point on this nerve-shattering journey.

Alfred Hitchock’s suspenseful drama, Rope, stands as an amazing achievement using the one-shot technique, but Mendes elevates 1917 to genius level with incredible action sequences, explosions and mysterious visual effects techniques to thread the cuts together for the resulting immersive experience.

Mendes and co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns keep changing the pace as we learn bits about the soldiers, but this never becomes a character film, driven by a massive backstory or motivation (to contrast with Saving Private Ryan). In fact, it’s the final scene, a moment to close out the film, to reveal one character’s motivation…the driving force for survival…and it was done with a genuine sweetness, a care that was 100% believable.

As a followup to winning his first-ever Oscar for Blade Runner 2049, Roger Deakins locked in a chance to win another Oscar with just a beautiful film, a flare-lit dawn sequence which should redefine the “war is hell” metaphor and partners perfectly with Thomas Newman’s score, which should also be a serious contender for an Oscar nod.

British stars Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Scott have minor roles with Scott’s being the most enjoyable. Only Dunkirk as set out to thrill an audience like 1917, but Mendes’ work is a more robust experience as every member walks alongside MacKay and Blake on this mission.

Profanity is slight, there is little blood and gore, but it’s incredibly intense and, well….war is hell.

1917 earns 9 1/2 stars out of a 10

Release date (limited): December 25, 2019

Release date (wide): January 10, 2020

Rated: Epic Drama

Cast: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, with Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch

Directed by: Sam Mendes

Writers: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns

Producers: Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Callum McDougall, Brian Oliver

Sam Mendes, the Oscar®-winning director of Skyfall, Spectre and American Beauty, brings his singular vision to his World War I epic, 1917.

At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (Captain Fantastic’s George MacKay) and Blake (Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them.

1917 is directed by Sam Mendes, who wrote the screenplay with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Showtime’s Penny Dreadful). The film is produced by Mendes and Pippa Harris (co-executive producer, Revolutionary Road; executive producer, Away We Go) for their Neal Street Productions, Jayne-Ann Tenggren (co-producer, The Rhythm Section; associate producer, Spectre), Callum McDougall (executive producer, Mary Poppins Returns, Skyfall) and Brian Oliver (executive producer, Rocketman; Black Swan).

The film is produced by Neal Street Productions for DreamWorks Pictures in association with New Republic Pictures. Universal Pictures will release the film domestically in limited release on December 25, 2019 and wide on January 10, 2020. Universal and Amblin Partners will distribute the film internationally, with eOne distributing on behalf of Amblin in the U.K.


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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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