‘1917’: The Best World War 1 Movie?

Jacob Derkosh, Reporter

When War movies come to mind, most people reference World War II, but that doesn’t mean that World War I can’t have its own good movies.

“1917” is proof that WWI movies can be just as engaging, or even better.

Directed by Sam Mendes, this movie’s plot was based on Mendes’ grandfather’s war stories, according to History vs. Hollywood. Mendes is also known for movies such as “Skyfall” and “Shrek: The Musical,” but his recent film may be his most notable one to date.

“1917”’s main difference from any other war movie is that the movie looks as if it was done in one shot, making the journey almost seem as if it was documented as it happened. This was done through near-seamless frame analysis and starting. If a bird were to get in the way of the scene, the whole scene was restarted, which was not often due to the high amount of effort for the frame cuts. There was only a hard cut in the middle of the movie, which will be discussed in the spoiler section of the review. 

Dean Chapman plays the role of Lance Corporal Blake, and George MacKay plays the role of Lance Corporal Schofield. Their conflict, which is introduced within the first five minutes of the film, is about delivering a letter from one camp to another, traveling through no man’s land in order to save over 1600 people. This plot, while simple, can easily be expanded to the two-hour film that it became. This is achieved through the minor conflicts along the way and the beautiful landscapes that they traverse on their trip to “Point B”.

The environments used for the scenes are all in a beautiful spectacle that looks very believable and enticing. The outfits and infantry rifles seem spot on, and the whole idea of war is captured perfectly. Each character is well developed, and while mostly unnamed, they get the job done at being different from each other, especially the main characters.

This next paragraph is spoiler-filled, including the ending and some other major events, so if you do not want to be spoiled, skip over it.

The movie perfectly executed the death scenes, the ending and everything in between. Corporal Blake’s death may seem unexpected, but it allows the rest of the movie’s conflict to evolve to the eventual dismay of Corporal Blake’s brother, one of the most emotional moments in the movie. As well, the idea of the continuous shot scheme being broken in the only part where Corporal Schofield gets shot was quite a surprise and definitely helped transition to the nighttime without seeming odd.

Overall, this movie uses its simple goal and beautiful visuals to make a complete package I wouldn’t mind watching again. The characters, while realistic and well-performed, could use a bit more expansion upon them. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys action or scenic movies. I give this movie 5 Warrior feathers out of 5.