One of the last films I saw in the cinema, I remeber walking out after watching '1917' in absolute awe. I've always been a huge fan of war films, with 'Platoon', 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'The Pianist' being among some of my favourite films of all time. So when someone at work pushed me to go watch '1917' I wasn't sure what to expect, but my God what a film!
Be honest, have you ever seen a film like it? Filmed in what seems like only 2 scenes, it's only when you understand the finer details behind the film that I truly appreciated, baring in mind I branded this a "cinematic masterpice" as my first words after the first watch. But before we get into it, lets just firstly analyse the story which has a fantastic simplicity to it. Basically, Lance Cpl. Schofield and Lance Cpl. Blake are given what seems to be an impossible task, to travel to the front-line through no mans land and deliver a message which will save 1600 men, including Blake's brother. There you have it, the underdog story. The battle against all odds. Lets chuck some emotion in, Blake has to save his Brother. OK, I'm in.
After the film, when you realise this film is based on true events, it only adds to the spectacle, especially as the stories come from the directors own Grandfather. All these little things are what gives this film its little quirks, such as the stories of how a soldier woke up to a rat knawing on his head, to Schofeild describing how he threw away his medal, as many soldiers did. All this set the film up to succeed, and that it did.
With twists and turns that I won't spoil here, the final scene is one of the best I have ever seen. With minutes to go, Schofield must run across the vast frontline with what seems like a deathwish as soldiers run in front of him to their death. The battle, which he was sent to stop, is beginning. What I love about this scene is something I didn't know until the second viewing, is that it wasn't choreographed. Soldiers were told to rise up and begin the attack, unaware of Schofields movements to show a true representation of the unpredictability of war. He bundles into several actors, who like the real-life soldiers had no idea what was happening, which gives the scene it's realism and beauty.
I could go on about this film for days because it is honestly the best film I have seen in years, but I don't want to give much away so to end off, all I'll say is... GO BLOODY WATCH IT. It is available on Amazon Prime now and the 2 hour runtime flies by, it really does!
If you've experienced this spectacle, how did you rate it?
Words: Dan Smith (@whatdansaw)