It has come time for me to geek out over how freaking great the movie 1917 was. Long anticipated, this movie delivered. It might be the best war movie I’ve ever seen.
The most noticeable thing about this movie is it was filmed to look like one continuous shot. That means the camera follows the main characters the entire time. There were no cuts, flashbacks, or leaps to future days. Using trick photography, they were able to add breaks for the actors but it looks like a constant shot, and that’s amazing.
There was a beast of a cast. Although the main actors were relatively unknown (so you don’t know if they’ll die or not, to paraphrase the director) there are solid cameos to include Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew Scott, Mark Strong and Richard Madden.
The cinematography was breathtaking, in part to the fact they only used natural lighting for a more authentic feel. (That means if the sun came out halfway through the scene, they had to stop and wait until it was cloudy again. This can add hours onto filming.) One of the most visually stunning scenes was shot completely using flares to illuminate a war torn city. That scene had to be rehearsed over and over to learn where shadows would fall so they could adjust the actors.
The story was inspired by the experience of the director’s grandfather in WW1. He told tales of a messenger who’s story lived on. This may spark memories from those who have read the short story A Message to Garcia, which is required reading for junior ranks in the Marine Corps.
Beyond the fascinating concept used to create this amazing movie, the dialogue, action sequences and attention to detail was impressive. Weapons function within the limitations for the time, the banter in the transports reminded me of being back in Iraq and Afghanistan with my boys. They did a fantastic job of capturing the humanity, and sometimes lack thereof, in combat.
So gather up all your friends, particularly the military ones, and go see this movie. You can also be rest assured there’s only one guy who apparently never needs to reload, so we all get to complain about that. Isn’t that the real reason why we go to see war movies anyways? Have you seen 1917? Drop your comments below.