This film is set over the course of one day- the 6th of April, 1917. Two soldiers, Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) & Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay), are ordered to travel by foot and deliver an urgent message. If they can deliver the urgent message successfully, they will save the lives of 1, 600 soldiers, stopping them from walking into a trap on the battlefield.
As the film began, I could not help but notice the cinematography. It is truly something wonderful, and the film’s style is consistent throughout. Style-wise, this film feels like it is one continuous shot. It also carefully creates the tension of war. In moments such as when our characters enter a dark cave, the camera lens just follows right behind them as if we the audience are there with them in the war zone. There were also plenty of moments where I found myself feeling rather tense. Thanks to the style of this film, it is loaded with surprises and tension.
Convincing suspense and fear is also created by the leading performances. Actors Dean-Charles Chapman & George MacKay were fantastic together on screen. As characters, they are quite different from one another but carry different strengths and elements. This makes them a unique pair to tackle this dangerous mission. Throughout the film, other familiar actors make brief appearances in supporting roles. Some of these actors include Mark Strong, Colin Firth & Benedict Cumberbatch, who all bring unforgettable performances even though their scenes are quick.
As a plot, it does not take long for the film to get underway. We are introduced to the leads and then immediately after a mission is introduced. I found myself getting invested with this film rather quickly and the pacing is never dull. Despite the film shocking me and leaving me mentally drained due to the tension, there were a couple of moments which either were predictable or too much of a coincidence.
Overall, 1917 is an unforgettable war film. It has a filming style which brings lots of tense moments to the screen, and as far as the audio and visuals go, I cannot fault any of it. All performances, including leads and supporting roles, are unforgettable, helping the audience feel the fear of the battlefield. As for the plot, it is never boring but simply gripping. 1917 is a must watch from the line-up of 2019. It was close to a knockout on my scoreboard, but sadly a couple of predictable moments did let me down ever so slightly. Nevertheless, this film is a must-watch.
1917 (2019) is Now Available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray & DVD
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Review Written by Peter Walkden