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1917 movie review : A cinematic triumph par excellence

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1917 movie review is here. The epic war film directed, co-written and produced by Sam Mendes has received 10 nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

Starring George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch, 1917 won the Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director at the 77th Golden Globe Awards and bagged nine nominations for the 73rd British Academy Film Awards. So, what makes 1917 so special amongst the epic war sagas we have seen?. Let’s find out in the movie review of 1917. 1917 releases in India on January 17, 2020.

Immediate reaction when the end credits roll
In the rarest of rare occasion, filmmaking craft has been so immersive, deftly thrilling and profoundly magical in its capacity to last forever. Sam Mendes 1917 is a cinematic triumph par excellence and I won’t be surprise if it bags top honors at the 92nd Oscars including the best picture.

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The Story of 1917
Based on an account told to Mendes by his paternal grandfather, Alfred Mendes, 1917 is the story of great courage of two young British soldiers, Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman). At the height of the First World War, soon after the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line during Operation Alberich in 1917, Schofield and Blake are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers–Blake’s own brother among them.

1917 movie review

The AMERICAN BEAUTY fame Sam Mendes delivers an unforgettable war beauty.  One of the greatest achievement in filmmaking in recent years 1917 by Sam Mendes reestablishes the magic of ‘long single take/extended’ shots

That echoes its undefeated power to hold, behold, entertain and enthrall cinegoers of any generation. It’s the magic of pure basics before the micro/macro approach like the first chord or say ‘pehla sur’ landing on the perfect note and continuing diligently without any break echoing the magical song of the impact of moving pictures on heart, mind, eye and soul with sonic elan.

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Right from the word go with the very first frame 1917 is a rare technical marvel that celebrates the power of cinema and underlines the fact that the wizardry of expertise in camera, light and sound can add so much power to a thin plot and make it a long lasting experience.

Veterans and war movie aficionados will experience a flashing déjà vu of classic WWI films like THE BIG PARADE, PATHS OF GLORY etc and that works as a bonus.

I don,t remember when I have talked about technical finesse first before speaking about the performances of the main lead in my reviews but the mastery of technicalities and filmmaking in 1917 has motivated me to do so.

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Cinematography by Roger Deakins is a master class. Thomas Newman’s score mixes with the proceedings like sugar and milk. Ditto for Mark Taylor, Stuart Wilson (Sound Mixing) and Oliver Tarney, Rachel Tatey (Sound Editing).

The performance are undoubtedly outstandingly convincing to the core both Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay win the hearts of the audience.

Solid support comes from Andrew Scott, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Richard Madden.

Flaws
Ironically, this marvelous achievement in filmmaking craft that offers a grand tribute to the ‘long single take/extended’ shots technique in today’s world of cinema that is constantly getting wooed by snappy editing’s, smart graphics, CGI’s etc at one point for a while made me feel like am watching a video game and not actually playing it. This happened because of a thin plot.

Final words
1917 is certainly a great cinematic achievement in recent years. Worthy of top honours at Oscars, this rarest of rare triumph in filmmaking by Sam Mendes speaks volumes of excellence in its love for those magical ‘long single take/extended’ shots.

It must be noted that a good ‘long/extended shot’ is a result of continuous rehearsals/retakes of the entire sequence, something like rehearsing your act again and again before going live on theater, but you can still improvisein your next appearance of the same act. Cinema cannot have that luxury, once captured its forever and here it is indeed forever. Kudos.

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Critic Rating
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