1917 critically acclaimed—but should it be?

Poster from the movie 1917 featuring George MacKay as Lance Corporal Schofield

Poster from the movie 1917 featuring George MacKay as Lance Corporal Schofield

Owen Parker, Lifestyle Editor

On December 4, 2019, Universal Pictures, along with director Sean Mendes, released the R-rated World War 1 thriller, 1917. This story was written and produced by Sam Mendes who adapted the idea from stories told to him by his grandfather, Alfred
Mendes, who served in World War 1. 1917 follows the journey of Lance Corporal. Schofield, played by George MacKay, and
his Brother in Arms Lance Corporal. Blake, played by Dean-Charles Chapman.

The plot of the movie revolves around the corporals’ mission to relay a message that the Germans have set a trap for thou-
sands of British soldiers following Colonel Mackenzie, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who believes that he has the
Germans retreating. The thrill of the movie is that the two corporals have only 12 hours to trudge across No-Mans-Land and deliver the message. The stakes are also raised because Cpl. Blakes’ brother is apart of Colonel Mackenzie’s company and if they don’t stop the attack he might die.

2020 has been a good year so far for Sam Mendes and 1917. On January 5, 2020, 1917 won the Golden Globe for best motion picture and best director and it was nominated for best original score. Additionally, 1917 won an Oscar for Best Cinematography, Best Achievement Visual Effects, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, and it was nominated for Best Motion Picture, Best Achievement in Directing, etc.

One big pro for this movie, along with its great music and effects, is its unique and groundbreaking filming
technique. Most movies nowadays are filmed scene by scene and “cut” or put together in post-production, however, Sam managed to film 1917 with only two scenes. This means that while filming all the actors and set workers had to get everything right the first time in every scene. 1917 only had one cut, and it was only included to serve a purpose, which was to change the setting from midday to dusk.

However, the biggest con that hinders 1917 from greatness is that it is best described as a “Jack of all Trades”. The story isn’t
amazing, but the visual effects and music are really good. With a combination of intense music and some explosions and gun-
fights, audiences can be tricked into thinking it was a lot better than it was. 1917 stripped to its core is just a worse version of Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, which, similarly, follows soldiers who are tasked with saving another solider from
imminent death in order to keep a family together.

Overall 1917 is a good film, not fantastic, but not horrible. The thrilling music, intense battles are fun to watch, and the fact that
it was shot in two takes is amazing to think about. I would recommend this to people who want to just go and watch a movie with no big expectations. I give this movie 5.5 out of 10 because it is a perfect representation of what the movie is, perfectly average.