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Film Review: 1917

Some war stories become classics and 1917 proves to be one of those great war movies

1917 shows the truly brutal reality of World War 1 and leaves you with a feeling of utmost respect for allied soldiers.

Tom Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Will Schofield (George MacKay) are tasked with bringing an order to Colonel Mackenzie (Benedict Cumberbatch) of the Devonshire regiment in order to save thousands of lives. The problem is that the Devonshire regiment is located behind enemy lines, so these two young men have to cross German territory to get to Colonel Mackenzie.

Universal Pictures Benedict Cumberbatch as Colonel Mackenzie

High-budget movies with recognizable actors like this usually end up with success, though this doesn’t necessarily mean it is “good.” In this case, though, the high budget makes the cinematography and acting even better because the writing is already dynamic, genuine, and authentic to begin with.

Some circumstances that the protagonists find themselves in look extremely inescapable. The only critique I would have is that the outcomes might seem far fetched. The duality between realism and impossibility due to storytelling is something that is difficult to manage, especially for a movie that is based on a true story told by the director’s grandfather, but the movie still manages to keep it under control.

The soundtrack is usually an integral part of movies. “I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger,” a popular American folk song from the 19th century, is enough to make anyone cry. There are many variations in lyrics, but the meaning has mostly stayed the same. It is presented in such a beautiful way (which I will not spoil), and it is my favourite part of the soundtrack. 

The mood is woven in the background of the entire movie. It pulls the viewer in as you see them getting closer to danger. The sheer amount of obstacles in their path slowly deteriorates them, as they continue on, not knowing if they’re going to survive. It is a sort of grim anxiety that the viewer feels. A sense of impending doom for the characters is always present, and in a moment’s notice, they are in a severely life-threatening situation. 

The film’s realism is the central reason it had such an emotional effect. Realism that is displayed every second, whether it’s in the background or blatantly obvious; this movie displays the constant stress of a soldier, while simultaneously showing their courage.

The power of this movie lies with its accuracy and passion. It produces sadness, distress, anger, and pessimism in the viewer; 1917 brings a sense of hope in the end, and that’s what makes it truly inspiring. War movies have been done many times, but this is a classic. 

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