1917, Although technology seems to have created a new advancement in movie-going every few months, it is comforting for filmgoers to still get pulled into a movie despite this new technology. Some examples of these breakthroughs include the abandonment of traditional film in favour of celluloid, 3D cinema and more recently 4K cinema
The idea of an extended single shot that provides more than one scene, whether it is meant to just have one moment or a whole movie, still excites viewers on some basic level.
“1917,” the latest theatrical feature present from filmmaker Sam Mendes, is impressive in more ways than one. The film makes full use of their technology to achieve a seamless effect with a single shot throughout an entire production.
Despite focusing on its technical prowess, the movie doesn’t leave room for other aspects of movies we like- a strong narrative, characters that are interesting, or a reason for us to go to watch it. There’s not much to see here, and the movie drags on.
“1917” is set in the turmoil of World War I and focuses on no man’s land, which separates British and German troops.
The two young corporals, Blake and Schofield, have been told to report for a new assignment in their sleep.
For the past week, Blake’s brother has been working on a plot with an attack that is planned to push the Germans back even further following a recent retreat.
However, intelligence has suggested that the retreat is a trick that traps them into an ambush. With the radio lines down, Blake and Schofield are ordered to go on foot to that factory to call off the attack before it can begin. This journey will force them to trek through enemy territory.
In 1917, As the soldiers approach a safe zone, the tension rises when they notice it is actually quite dangerous. The recent nature of the carnage that has occurred on their front line indicates that it could be unsafe as well.
Hell has replaced the Earth they left just minutes ago. They have to endure all kinds of gruesome obstacles and perils in their quest to complete their mission. At one point, a member of their squad accidentally sticks his hand into a freshly sliced open wound that turns out to be one of many lesser difficult tasks for them.
The movie “1917” attempts to give a raw, tactile and visceral look at World War I. It’s made for viewers who are unfamiliar with the history and movies about World War I; it takes in the mindset of people who haven’t had a chance to perceive what exactly happened during that time.
With the story not evolving in a timely manner, “1917” is not nearly as effective as it could have been. There is a lack of energy in the film because Mendes had to find unconventional ways to tell the story.
Often, these moments are so absorbing that we don’t even realize they’ve been done in a single shot. They’re also able to do just as much as the standard long shot sequence where the filmmaker showcases their technical prowess.
Using heavy techniques like rapid cutting and shallow focus, Orson Welles was able to introduce and set up the story quickly and efficiently in the opening scene of “Touch Of Evil.” When he made a cut, it came as a genuine surprise.
However, Mendes is able to show off the film’s many technical achievements. There is hardly a moment in the film in which it feels too long. Roger Deakins is one of the most respected cinematographers and his work on this film must have been difficult with the complex production that they had.
The problem is that the visual cue cannot help but draw attention to itself throughout, whether it is due to the increasingly showy camera moves or the sometimes awkward methods used to camouflage edits and which begin to stick out more and more.
(Speaking of an unlikely, if not methodical way to maintain production when said production house doesn’t have the materials) Surprisingly, one of the most obvious ways to hide a cut is the most dramatic and emotional. This technique may come across as noise—therefore distracting—but instead, it remains front and center in order to keep production going.
There isn’t anything on hand here that has a significant chance of stealing your attention.
The story designed by Mendes and co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns crosses the boundary between WWI films such as “The Big Parade”, “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “Paths of Glory.”
In certain sequences, the movie pauses for brief appearances by familiar faces like Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Strong where exposition-heavy cut scenes feel exactly like those that appear between different levels in video games.
“1917″ was not an easy task to stage and execute and there are some scenes (such as a tense one that took place in a shelter) that are legitimate ‘skeets’.
While technically impressive and in theory well researched, the film fails to captivate its audience and develop any type of meaningful connection between the viewer and the film’s various characters. The film is less about character development and more about a retreaded narrative about exploring world history that seems limited to a single side story.