It’s been just over 101 years since the First World War ended, and what became known as modern warfare was invented. The first time the whole world became embroiled in the war was terrifying and as deadly as ever. Still, somehow Hollywood is still more fascinated with the Second World War and Vietnam.
Academy Award winner Sam Mendes’s latest film gives an authentic and heart-pounding look at the beginning of trench warfare and the deadly battles faced during that First World War. His story is that of two young British soldiers who are tasked with getting a message across battlefields to avoid other troops walking into a trap attack in a battle that could swing the war. Their harrowing journey keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
One of the two soldiers has his broth as part of the troops that need to be warned of the trap they are walking into. This gives him extra incentive to make it in time and take on all aspects that attempt to hold them back, which even includes a crashing German fighter plane.
Mendes has beautifully shot and brought war life over 100 years old back to life. With the style of one continuous shot, it doesn’t give the viewer a chance to settle and catch their breath, immersing them in the same intensity as the young soldiers involved. This film is one that is experienced as much as it is viewed, if not more so.
Last year Academy Award-winning director released a documentary about WWI British soldiers entitled They Shall Not Grow Old, which I feel serves as a good companion piece that would make for a great watch after taking in Mendes’ 1917.
The way the intensity is built and conveyed in 1917, it is one of the reasons it has been so highly praised because you can’t help but feel involved and even possibly placed right in the trenches of France 102 years ago and how those confined spaces added to the tension felt among those fighting.
Mendes will find himself on the shortlist of Best Director Oscar nominees 20 years after his first and only nomination and win for the beautiful American Beauty. While many cinephiles consider that first film his most beautiful but 1917 is one film that will live on just as long and may make Mendes 2 for 2 when it comes to being nominated and winning that coveted gold statue known as Oscar.