1917 in 2019 - Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins

— Alan

Sort of an inverse Gallipoli, there. (Looks good!)

After Skyfall and Spectre, I’m on board with anything Sam Mendes & Roger Deakins make next. (Deakins was a great DP on Skyfall, though I thought Mendes’ partnership with DP Hoytema was even better in Spectre, though both movies had a really strikingly beautiful look).

God, another movie about the Somme?

/rolls eyes theatrically

Somme is 1916.

More than likely this has to do with Passchendaele, but hard to say for sure.

— Alan

To the Brits the whole affair was the Somme. Except for that little excursion thingy where a bunch of Kiwis and Diggers invaded Asia.

(Battle of Arras in 1917. Bad time for the Army-attached BE2s and Feebs :( )

I… don’t think they do, but I’m not expert.

— Alan

Check out this behind the scenes video:

They reveal something I hadn’t known until today: it’s filmed as one continuous shot. The entire movie.

— Alan

Woah. That’s an incredibly complex undertaking!

Edit: I remember Mendes did that incredible long shot opening to Spectre, the last Bond movie he directed. I guess that was just practice for this.

I watched this last night. I have a lot of thoughts about it, but initially I’ll go out and say it’s a great movie with amazing spectacle, expert crafting, intricately shot, with a bit of a so-so plot.

One thing to get out of the way is that by no means is this a “one-shot” movie. There are quite a few obvious places where cuts can and did occur, and at one point there’s quite a passage of time. It’s not real-time from beginning to end. That being said, the immense sequences they did put together are at times mind-blowing and truly spectacular. When they first venture off into no-man’s land in broad daylight, it’s incredibly tense. The trench stuff is lengthy and almost claustraphobic, but I love how you get a feel for the different trenches.

The plot is… odd. On April 6, 1917 (perhaps coincidentally the day the US enters the war) two messengers are sent to stop an attack. The Germans have pulled out of a salient some 9 miles; aerial reconnaisse has confirmed that a new hidden defenseive emplacement exists and that troops that attack across this new area will get massacred. Which wouldn’t have happened anyway except for the fact that one commander decided to push headlong into the new zone on his own and will attack the next day and get slaghtered.

For one thing, at this point in the war it would be incredibly obvious to British and French troops to incredibly cautious following up on a German retreat. For another, what transpired is typical of what happened in the war: the British didn’t follow-up, they were hesitant, didn’t show initiative, didn’t exploit gaps or retreats, and acted sloth-like. Except for of course this one regiment. So in essence they are going to get slaughtered for showing some balls and initiative that should have been a positive.

The situation in the new no-man’s land is a bit confusing for various reasons I won’t get into here, and having name actors suddenly show up in various roles can be a little distracting for what little time they have on screen. One particular sequence I wasn’t a fan of at all.

But the positives are simply outstanding, so I definitely recommend it.

— Alan

I do plan on paying to see this, but based on the ads I was hoping it didn’t end up being a 1917 version of Saving Private Ryan.

I think it’s kind of important to not really look at it like an SPR clone, though I’m sure a lot of people will make that suggestion. Ultimately a lot of war movies are about saving lives in some form or fashion.

Even the plot itself isn’t really that originial in the context of WWI productions; there’s an episode of Young Indiana Jones chronicles which is a lot like 1917.

— Alan

I’m 55 and I’ve watched quite a few movies during my lifetime, and I have to say 1917 is arguably the best war film I’ve ever seen. Saving Private Ryan might be the only other war film that would top it.

Beautiful film, so amazingly directed. Some of the scenes had my brain’s camera opening and closing its shutters.

This was amazing. Am I the only person that thinks he gets killed by the sniper and the rest of the movie is a dying dream since its very different to what comes before it.

I wondered how other people were dealing with that scene. I wasn’t sure what to make of it.

I attributed the difference to day/night.

I was meaning the entire rest of the movie not just the night sequence.

Very impressed with this. I saw it more as a revisit of Gallipoli, in part. I wish I knew the accents better as I suspect they had some small additional meaning, perhaps?

The ending left me sad about Christien’s passing. I’d have loved to have heard him speak about it.

A couple questions:

Was Cumberbatch saying the aerials probably weren’t really that good, ie Scofield shouldn’t be so sure he’d saved lives? Or did “last man standing” mean we may as well grind each other down faster to end the war sooner? Does anyone know if that river actually has that rapid channel followed by a waterfall (just curious?) The vehicle group that crossed no man’s land; how far away did they cross?

I don’t think it was a dream - i think it was just a way to add a cut to a film that to that point had not a single (apparent) cut, and also to make it more dramatic since he will have to get to the front line. The town vignette with it’s nightmarish quality really drew this painterly vision of why that whole generation suffered a kind of collective PTSD, the imagery there is somehow timeless and shared but not unique or individualistic.

I’m not quite sure yet what to make of it - it’s fantastic, some of the best cinematography i’ve seen, and has just an amazing present sense of recreating a moment-to-moment feel of WW1 - but it feels like a short story written large on the big screen.

For those who are interested as a kind of men’s military costume drama, it’s fantastic. What it isn’t though is watching 50,000 guys get cut down by machine gun nests. Perhaps it is more like a poem.