Sam Mendes’ war drama 1917 met a positive response from critics and fans alike as it dominated the box office in its opening week.

Earning over $143m worldwide, this World War I epic is a solid contender for best picture at the Academy Awards.

The Oscar-winning James Bond director takes us on a journey with two young British soldiers tasked with delivering a message deep in enemy lines to save the lives of 1600 men.

One of the main features of this film is its amazing cinematography done by veteran British Cinematographer Roger Deakins.

Deakins has worked on movies directed by the Coen Brothers, Denis Villeneuve and Sam Mendes that are among some of the best in cinema history.

In 2018 he finally won an Oscar for Blade Runner 2049 after 13 nominations and now he has paired up with Mendes to deliver a visual masterpiece.

This movie is unique to the genre in that it is designed to look like one continuous shot, allowing viewers to be fully immersed in experience.

We follow over the shoulders of Dean-Charles Chapman and George Mackay out of the disease-ridden trenches and into the ruins of the Western Front in Northern France.

Mackay especially delivers an outstanding performance as Lance Corporal Will Schofield, harnessing his craft with an emotional rollercoaster of expression.

The sound design (and sometimes lack of it) keeps you on the edge of your seat as you don’t know what’s in store for these young men. Thomas Newman (Skyfall, Spectre) made the original score for 1917 with the instrumentation perfectly complimenting each scene.

Despite being tasked with something that seems so menial as delivering a message, the obstacles these soldiers have to face always puts them in a near death situation.  This sums up the First World War as many lives were lost for the smallest push.

One aspect of the movie that had an impact on me personally was representation. Rarely in World War movies do I see the Black and Asian soldiers that played a big part in supporting the Allied forces.

Colonial India provided over a million soldiers to fight in the European and Middle Eastern campaign. To finally see a Sepoy get screen time and dialogue gave me a sense of belonging.

The main theme of this story is survival by all means necessary as well as going above and beyond the call of duty.

This is definitely one of the best war dramas in recent year and I recommend all to watch 1917 for a genuine cinematic experience.

Movie Rating – 9/10

Photo by Universal Pictures

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