!917 - This Single Shot Movie Rocks Impressively
Dir: Sam Mendes
Starring George Mackay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Andrew Scott, Mark Strong, Richard Madden
Sam Mendes’ WWI epic is a bravura piece of filmmaking, effectively masquerading as a protracted single take over nearly two hours, that, at times, seems more concerned with form than it does with the emotion of its tory telling.
That said, it remains a remarkable puece of work, something for which Mendes, and his peerless DP Roger Deakins, should be up for taking many a bow on behalf of.
George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman are the two young soldiers charged with delivering an important order to the front line.
As they move forward through an often terrifying terrain on their way to save a platoon of lives, we the audience move with them through this increasingly hostile vision of war – coming across a vast array of British acting talent along the way, from Firth to Cumberbatch to Strong to Madden to hot priest Scott to Danny Mays and more.
Inspired by tales told by his WWI-serving grandfather, Mendes and his team have created a film here that manages to move from the mundanity of the trenches to the nightmarish and brutal reality of war at its most devastating. In its finest moments, it is able too distract you from the artificiality of its single take format; at its weakest moments – it pretty much does the same, with its central characters dodging not just bullets but felled aircraft and underwater incursions.
It is undoubtedly powerful – and now looks an Oscar-likely as well as a bona fide box office success. It is at times harrowing, at times breath-taking, and, at times, less emotionally involving that it strives to be.
But it is undeniably impressive.
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