A Revolutionary film: 1917

By Tim Lewis

Redcoat Review Writer

Posted June 3, 2020

The 2019 blockbuster film 1917 is not only a revolutionary film but also a symbol of innovation in the field of cinematography.

The movie encapsulates the physical and emotional struggles of a soldier at war, specifically as a British soldier during World War 1. In 1917, Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay) and Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) were tasked with a nearly impossible mission: to cross enemy territory and deliver an important message to the commanding officer of another battalion. For many of their fellow soldiers, and Lieutenant Joseph Blake - Corporal Blake's brother, who is unknowingly walking into a surprise attack from the enemy forces - this message could be a saving grace.

Based on the numerous trailers, the audience expects the setting to be set behind enemy lines, but director Sam Mendes does a good job of varying the setting to include a wide array of iconic locations in World War 1. This allows the audience to understand the difference between trench warfare and modern day warfare, while also conveying why soldiers wanted to be out of the trenches for as long as they could.

Much of the anticipation of the movie came from the way it was filmed: being in one continuous shot. With the exception of one cut while lead actor George MacKay - who played Lance Corporal Schofield, and was shot unconscious - the entire movie did not have any cuts. Of course, it is impossible to actually shoot an entire movie without cuts. This is what makes the movie's smooth transitions so impressive.

With a score of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.1/10 on IMDb, it is safe to say that this movie enjoyed a positive reception from both movie critics and audiences alike. Part of the success of this unique film was due to Roger Deakins, who is a well known cinematographer. His successes have earned him spots in the British Society of Cinematographers and American Society of Cinematographers.

The deeper meaning of the plot in 1917 is that it represents the duty that all soldiers carry out in order to achieve their mission, regardless of the cost. Certain moments in the plot force the audience to consider what they would do in the soldier’s position.. Not only does this help engulf the audience on a deeper emotional level, but also indulges them to understand the hardships of life as a soldier during World War 1. All things considered, due to the unique nature of the film's cinematography, and its captivating plot, I give it a score of 9/10.