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(film review) - 1917

I know who Sam Mendes is.  I've heard the name being passed here and there and if I remember correctly, James Bond?  He was responsible for the great Skyfall, no?  Then dropped the ball with Spectre.  I enjoyed Spectre, but it was nowhere close to the Masterpiece that was Skyfall.
However going into this, I hadn't a clue he was responsible for this movie.  Maybe I heard his name but I totally forgot as I went in until I saw his name at the end.  And considering he dropped the ball somewhat with the last movie I saw from him, it is great to proudly announce (as if you didn't already know) that he has picked the ball up again and he is running and doing a good job.

1917 centres around World War I with two guys, William and Tom on a impossible mission through enemy lines to deliver a message to Tom's brother in the 2nd battalion who are due to move out in the Morning.  They have learned of Germany's plan and if this message does not get delivered and stop the troops from leaving, there will be a massacre.

Two things.  Tension and Timing.  This movie is shot in what seems as though it is one continuously long take.  There are no "breakaways."  There is reason to believe there is some trickery involved but this movie does exactly what Birdman did and it was great.  Not only did you feel like you were following these characters, you actually felt like you were in the War and on the battlefield.  You felt like you were right there in the thick of it not knowing where to go, where to look, who to trust and where the bullets were flying from.  The tension was built up soo well and with the score assist, you really felt like you were there, I don't think I can stress that enough.
Beautifully shot as well.  Because there are no breakaway shots, the camera follows these to characters and you get and 3rd person views and some of the imagery is beautiful whilst a lot of the shots were haunting.  It really gave you the dark and gritty element of what war is, the aftermath and how desperate it can be.  Two scenes stood out to me, one in the trailer involving a crashing plane which showed me, in War, sometimes you don't even know who the bad guys are when you see and arial dog fight.  Then later on, this is reinforced where there is a moment where one Will is walking and witnessing a huge fire, then slowly coming into frame is a Soldier.  The soldiers get close enough to then realise that they see the enemy.  That moment leads to one of the two best moments for me.  Sometimes when you know you are out numbered and when your survival instinct kicks in, you do what has to be done.  You see both moments in the trailer but I won't say what they are due to spoilers, but I was definitely rooting for them.

The ONLY negatively I had, was the convenience of Mark Strong's character as I would have thought you would have heard him and the fact that Will at least, had 9 lived.  I understood that the weapons were not as accurate and reliable as to how they are now, but Will just would not die.

This film is a cinematic film.  It is not flashing explosures and cool dialogue, it is grounded and real.  How i'd imagine and how I wouldn't even date to imagine how War is.  The things you see and go through, a lot to have a man go through.  I mean, early in the film and this is a very small spoiler, but Will holes open a Barnes wire fence, pricks himself on it and the wound is bleeding out.  Before he is able to doctor it, he accidentally pushes said hand into the corpse of a dead body a rat is picking/eating at.  I'm that moment, I commented, "Urgh, that's butters" (butters being English alang for nasty) and I knew from that moment, I couldn't do War myself.  My thoughts on hygiene and cleanliness was going into overdrive.

Brilliant film.  Not what I wanted to see as I was really going for Jojo, but was shocked how engaging, atmospheric and tension filled this movie was with superb moments of slight comedy and amazing shots and scenery.  Sam made a film that wasn't necessarily about the characters, as you will Notice famous actors who have somewhat cameo roles, but the movie is about the War and how life at War is.  About desperation and what needs to be done.  Well done Sam. 


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