Kevin C. Wong

Movie - 1917 (2019) [+]

1917 is a British-made World War I movie set sometime in that year. After the Germans feint a withdrawal a rash colonel tells HQ that he's launching a pursuit the next day, not knowing it's a trap. HQ assigns a courier mission to Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and his friend Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay). They have from that afternoon to the next morning to travel through German lines (because the Germans occupied a salient) to reach the other side with orders to stop the attack. For Blake it means possibly saving his older brother, a Lieutenant in the Devonshires.

So the two set off, sneaking through no-man's land to the other trenches then through and traveling the countryside trying to avoid Germans and encountering various facets of the WWI landscape. It's mostly landscape and meeting a few people. A rather quiet and lonely journey through not war-torn land but land where all civilians fled.

Uniquely, the film is told in real-time and in one continuous shot (with various tricks so that the filming wasn't one continuous shot). The camera is pretty much always on Blake and Schofield or panning around looking at the surroundings from their point of view. I think the audio is pretty much what they would be hearing and I don't remember a soundtrack score although there is one.

There are a lot of WWI details although everything is cleaner than what it would be in real life. It's a good suspenseful movie with a different way of telling a story.