1917 (2019), by Sam Mendes – Review

1917 It is shot in a single plane sequence. But unlike other works that have used this stylistic resource, here the camera is at the service of history, it never becomes the protagonist.

The latest Sam Mendes movie is released, which has been number nine since it was filmed in 1999 American beauty (winning an Oscar), and the first in which he has participated in the writing of the script. A career full of successes, in which his last work does not detract at all.

The story is simple and somehow reminds Save Soldier Ryan of Spielberg, but in our view more accomplished. He tells us how during the First World War, two British soldiers in French territory and in the middle of the trenches are entrusted with a mission. What follows next is a vibrant and exciting adventure in which we follow these two soldiers.

The film is shot in practically a single plane sequence, with which it follows the vicissitudes of the protagonists at all times. But unlike other works that have made this stylistic resource, as was the case with The Russian Ark Alexander Sokurov, a medium that dominated the story and was imposed on it in a mannerist manner, here the camera is at all times at the service of history, never becomes a protagonist and, if we are not attentive, we immediately stop realizing That there is only one plane. He has the great ability to follow the protagonists when interested, finish in the foregrounds of their faces or details of the narration when it is convenient or leave them out to tell us what is happening around them. It achieves a tremendously agile pace and, at the same time, allows the actors to offer an interpretation adjusted to each circumstance. Far from being an effective resource, the narration in a single shot, gives the film a special rhythm that knows how to interrupt at key moments to calm the story and tell some parallel and emotional events such as the scene of the soldiers singing before the offensive, or make fine psychology notes when an officer warns you of the way you should deliver the message.

A magnificent film, extraordinarily entertaining, that leaves us with a clear awareness of the absurdity of all wars.

In addition, Sam Mendes never fails to underline the horror that was the trench warfare, the differences between the officers and the troop and the absurdity that in general are the war disputes. But as with the use of the camera, there is no unnecessary underlining here, it simply manages to get rid of the mere observation of the story. In the aspect of the interpretation it is necessary to emphasize, next to the two protagonist soldiers, George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman, great actors who have accepted to take part in brief roles like Colin Firth or Benedict Cumberbatch. The music by Thomas Newman is magnificent and knows how to keep up with the rhythm of the story.

It begins and ends in the same gentle way, in which we see the foreground of a man resting in the field and enjoying what seems to be a wonderful landscape, but then we see how everything is transformed and then we know the horror. We find, in short, a magnificent film extraordinarily entertaining, which manages to maintain a fast paced throughout most of the two-hour footage and leaves us with a clear awareness of the absurdity of all wars.

At the time of publishing this criticism we get the news that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has awarded it with two Golden Globes 2020, the Best Dramatic Film and the Best Director, which only confirms everything I said so far.


Synopsis In the crudest of World War I, two young British soldiers receive a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against the clock, they must cross the enemy territory to deliver a message.
country United Kingdom
Address Sam Mendes
Script Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Music Thomas Newman
Photography Roger Deakins
Distribution George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Richard Madden, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Andrew Scott, Teresa Mahoney, Daniel Mays, Adrian Scarborough, Jamie Parker
Gender War
Duration 119 min.
Original title 1917
Premiere 01/10/2020

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