Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay) are given a mission to cross enemy territory during WWI and deliver a message to call off a planned attack that will see 1600 men killed, including Blake's brother.
After what felt like an eternity I finally got to watch the recent Golden Globe winner for Best Drama and it lives up to every bit of hype. I am in awe of this film on a technical level. It's masterful film work.
Much has been made of the "single take" method of shooting, and it looks wonderful. It makes us feel like we're in the trenches with Blake and Schofield. We're right there next to them seeing the hopelessness of war. The annoyances and fear of their fellow comrades as they push by them on what feels like a suicide mission. The score, which is beautiful is one of the things that had me on the edge of my seat. Every time it picked up I was afraid of something terrible happening - and yes, it does.
The cinematography is splendid. Even though the "money shot" in the trailer so to speak is the biggest part of the film, and I had seen behind the scenes footage of them making it, seeing it on the big screen uninterrupted was glorious. That scene alone is winning them a Cinematography Oscar.
Let's talk about the acting. George MacKay absolutely carries this film. It's a bit criminal that he's not in more Best Actor discussions when he's far better here than at least two of the nominated actors. Chapman doesn't have as much to do as MacKay but he's also good and it's nice to see what young Tommen Baratheon is up to. As for the big name cameos that are peppered throughout the film, Andrew Scott's was my favorite as a very cynical commanding officer who is so sure they're not going to make it he asks them to throw an expensive looking flare gun back towards their front lines if they get shot at. It's one of the few humorous moments that worked so well.
I thought a lot about Dunkirk after watching this, another masterfully made war film. I don't think they're very similar other than the fact that they feel so different from other war movies. There's not nearly as many WWI films out there but I think 1917 will now be known as the gold standard. It's incredible.
Memorable Quote: "Don't worry, you'll be wanking again soon enough." - Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman)