1917 Is The Must-See Cinematic Experience Of The Year | Review
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1917 Is The Must-See Cinematic Experience Of The Year | Review

While home setups are getting really good these days, there are some films that just absolutely shine on the big screen. 1917 is definitely one of those films. It was suggested that I watch it as big and loud as possible, and so IMAX was the order of the day (sadly, in South Africa the IMAX run is only a week long). In short, if you can see this in a cinema, I highly recommend you do.

1917 is a story about two young World War 1 soldiers tasked with delivering an incredibly important message that’s going to save thousands of lives, but they need to do it on foot and before time runs out. The stakes are high and the clock gets ticking very quickly.

Look again

What instantly makes 1917 a unique war film is that the entire movie is filmed to make it seem like it’s one very long take. More importantly, is because it looks like one take, you feel like you’re along for the ride every step of the way.

This isn’t just some gimmick though, in that it quickly and clearly becomes a core part of the films delivery of tension. As a matter of fact, the technical achievements of 1917 can’t really be ignored. While you can spot the occasional moment where a dark area or tree was used to stitch two shots together, it’s even more impressive to see the cameras moving in ways that just seem impossible.

Image still of movie 1917

The pacing of the film is astounding, as it effortlessly moves you through moments of calm, tension, rest and then more tension. One moment you are tense and the next you’re taking a breather. Sometimes, just when you think it’s time for the next breather, they catch you off guard.

A Dish Best Served Large

While 1917 relies on relatively unknown actors for its two leads, the film is sprinkled with surprise cameos by some of the UK’s finest. The people behind the cameras though… phew, we’re talking about some of the very best. Director and co-writer Sam Mendes (Skyfall, Spectre, Jarhead, American Beauty) has created something truly spectacular, and together with cinematographer Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049, The Big Lebowski, Skyfall, No Country for Old Men, Fargo) and composer Thomas Newman (American Beauty, Skyfall, The Help, Wall-E, The Green Mile) you have the recipe for a cinematic dish so delicious that you’ll want to eat it all up, and then eat it all up again.

There is one particular scene in the film where the movie pauses for a moment, and lets the cinematography and music literally dance for the audience. It’s a truly beautiful moment that feels like a little love letter to what cinema can be.

1917 is a high-stakes story, told in a very special way and presented with a blend of performance, visuals and soundtrack that sings the song of cinema. It’s a small story, about a big task, told in a very epic and interesting way. You absolutely must not miss it 1917, and do it in the cinema if you can.