As a technical achievement, the WWI drama, 1917, stands head and shoulders above much of anything else you’re likely to see on multiplex screens at this time of the year. Sam Mendes, the guiding hand behind the last two James Bond pictures, has achieved a level of filmmaking wizardry that, on a purely aesthetic level, is certain to astound. Mendes, along with his cinematic co-conspirator, the great cinematographer Roger Deakins, paints a vivid portrait of the horrors of war that is likely to be talked about for years to come and it’s that aspect of the film the viewers are likely to respond to most strongly. The film is basically designed as one long take and is done so in such an incredible way that it’s virtually impossible to locate the editorial seams.

George MacKay in 1917

The story at the heart of the film is basically a story told many times before as two soldiers are given the task of stopping a military action that will cause grave consequences. Their only option is to get there as fast as they can on foot, along the way taking in the resulting war carnage. Unfortunately, the screen story, also by Mendes, isn’t quite as mesmerizing as what the filmmaker manages to pull off on the technical level and his penchant for stunt casting cameo roles detracts overall. Still it’s easy to forgive him for any storytelling shortcomings when the other areas are so strong. 1917 is solid filmmaking well worth seeing on the biggest screen possible.

1917 is playing locally.
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