There’s not much to say about 1917 that hasn’t already been said. It is an absolutely stunning film. An incredible artistic achievement. A seamless masterpiece of cinematography that will, and rightly so, win an oscar for its efforts. Never before have I seen such clean cuts. As many as there are obvious cuts, there are an equal number of less obvious ones.
You should already know the story. Director Sam Mendes set out to make a WWI film that looks like it takes place in one continuous shot. Unlike Birdman which largely did the same thing, 1917 employs incredibly unique locales, taking us on an actual journey instead of into different layers of a building. The overall effect is a stressful one. But an earned stress, unlike certain other unnamed films.
That said, it’s rather like watching a video game. It hits all the beats at all the moments you expect it to. Some conversations feel forced because the film knows they need some character development NOW or we won’t care what happens.
I say experience it in theaters if you can. Experience the artistry. And then buy the DVD so you can watch the behind the scenes special, which will arguably be even better than the film itself.
3.5 out of 4 stars