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1917 (2020)

After seeing a trailer for this film, I deliberately avoided any further trailers, reviews or discussion, as I wanted to experience it with as much of it as unknown as possible.

Brief outline plot

Set in WW1, a young British soldier is commissioned with delivering a message to advancing allied forces that they are heading into a trap set by the Germans. The message is time sensitve, as the allied forces are set to advance in a matter of hours. It also happens that the regiment that he needs to deliver the message to, is the one where his brother is serving. He is asked to choose another soldier to go with him and deliver the letter in order to avoid a massacre of thousands of allied troops.



What I liked

This film is a visual masterpiece! The cinematography is outstanding, with so much attention to detail. The camera is alongside the main protagonists of the story throughout and it places you right there alongside them on their mission.
In a seeming contrast, the stunning colour and definition captures the horror of war and the scarred landscape and people that are affected by it.
An absolute materpiece by Deakins.

There seemed to be an authenticity to the film. It had obviously been well researched, but the quality of the sets took me directly to the battlefields and I could almost smell the death and decay.

There was a tension that was almost tangible that ran throughout the film. As well as the tension created by what we know of the horrors of this conflict, the time pressure on the mission creates a futher sense of urgency for the viewer.


What could be better

Maybe it was intentional, maybe it was the acting (although that may be a tad unfair), but I felt that the character development was lacking. I did feel a sense of warmth towards them but I didn't feel that I got to know them. As I said this could be intentional, as the enormity of the war dwarfed the story of any individual although it was made up of thousands of individual stories.
The characters lacked the depth of those of such films as Saving Private Ryan and Hacksaw Ridge.

I thought the ending was a little rushed after the build up of the first two thirds of the film, but that may have been influenced by the 2 hr run time.




In summary

This is a visually stunning spectacle that takes the viewer on a journey of tension and courage. I think it captures some of the emotion of the characters driving the story and also the young men that experineced the horrors of WW1.
It is a film that I will seek to own and is righfully receiving many plaudits.