Pssst, want to check out 1917 in our new look?
- 119 min.
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Absolutely incredible. An exhausting, somber, grim war movie made with some of the best talent on all fronts especially the cinematography done by the absolutely brilliant Roger Deakins
Is 1917 a good title for something that takes place over a day? (And indeed, is almost 2 hours in real time given the one-shot conceit, though director Sam Mendes does find ways to contract time.) Lets talk about that conceit because it exacerbates the completely legitimate comparison to an MMO side-quest. The story is so streamlined - it's this one, very simple mission - that it's basically an NPC giving the player a quest and off we go. With the camera never cutting away from the main character and following him through the adventure, often over the shoulder, the visual vocabulary is somewhat like that of a third-person sandbox/shooter. Does it really intensify immersion into the story? Maybe. I kind of think Mendes gave himself and his cast and crew a big challenge for us to marvel at as TECHNIQUE and that's all there is to it, but that's fine. We DO marvel at it. If there is a point to the single shot, it may be to show war as a continuous and relentless experience, here crunched into 24/2 hours for our convenience, a temporal prison for men who just want to go home but are afraid they can't connect to that other timeline. More importantly and all that said, it works, with a couple of stand-out moments (the flare run and the final sequence through to the end and bookend especially) and given the brief scenes with the characters NOT on the mission (you can't exactly go back to keep track of them), it's especially wonderful that they each leave such impressions (and not just the ones who are name-brand actors). My personal favorites are the hilarious Andrew Scott and that big fat rat.
Finally someone not named Cuarón or Lubezki knows how to use the one shot ”gimmick” effectively in an action setting. There’s a deeply humane idea behind it.
This deserves to be watch on the biggest screen with the best sound you can find.
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In 10 official lists
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This movie ranks #7 in IMDb's War Top 50
This movie ranks #8 in IMDb's 2010s Top 50
This movie ranks #50 in IMDb's Drama Top 50
This movie ranks #73 in IMDb's Top 250
This movie ranks #74 in BAFTA Award - Best Film
This movie ranks #122 in Academy Award - Best Cinematography
This movie ranks #151 in Golden Globe Award - Best Motion Picture
This movie ranks #354 in Box Office Mojo's All Time Worldwide Box Office
This movie ranks #564 in Academy Award - Best Picture Nominees
This movie ranks #845 in Box Office Mojo's All Time Adjusted Box Office