1917 (2020)

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Sam Mendes boldly moves from the ‘James Bond‘ franchise into the genre of war and his vision is truly epic; featuring a stand-out performance and teeth-clenchingly raw sights and sounds, you will be shaken and lifted come the end of this powerful film.

Tom Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) is sent on a mission and is asked to select someone to go with him, to deliver a letter to a battalion outlining ceasing their attack, as they are unknowingly advancing towards Germans setting up a devastating ambush. Will Schofield (George MacKay) joins Blake and together they’re sent over the top in daylight to try and save the lives of over a thousand men.

‘1917’ is a film that never lets up; this unrelenting sense of unavoidable conflict through their dangerous order to prevent mass slaughter completely immerses the audience into the film. A massive reason you’ll feel that way is because director of photography Roger Deakins has captured the story in a seemingly one-shot motion. The camera follows the action like an uncut guide which makes you feel as if you’re tumbling into grim trenches or hurtling away from bullets.

This war movie isn’t solely investing due to its continuous cinematography, there’s emotion aplenty and a headstrong mission to follow which helps shock you and grip you. You cannot help but become misty eyed come the climax of the story as it feels like we’ve been right there alongside Lance Corporal Schofield the entire time. It might very well knock the wind out of you but in the best possible way, this film is a grand experience.

Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins have together crafted a breathtaking vision and layered over this is Thomas Newman’s score. This trio melds as one cinematic delight that will stir the senses like you wouldn’t believe. ‘1917’ is thick with mud, blood and mostly heart which goes a gigantic way in making this a beautiful film. The scenes can be harrowing and tough but there are sequences such as a nighttime ruin lit up by flames and gunfire, which looks incredible on screen.

The extensive team behind this film have made an astounding story, one that is never a gimmick of one-shot motions, one that provides sensational technical achievements and one which lures its audience into an interpolating sense of world-building. The work, time and talent poured into this feature must be and deserve to be applauded and celebrated because from second 1 to minute 119 you will be transported into one of the most impressive works of art.

‘1917’ is one of the most staggering wonders I’ve witnessed for a long time. It’s story might be a fairly simple plot but the silence bristling through you as the credits roll will have you thinking of the monumental sacrifices made by soldiers for our country. Astonishing. Stunning. Pure cinema.

9/10

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