1917: Does the Movie Deserve Accolades?
Sam Mendes’s 1917 is vacuuming up all the praise and it’s very good at being a tense war movie that is crafted as if it was filmed in one shot.* And yet, when we step a bit back from the cinematography shenanigans, is there enough story? I’m feeling torn, but I can tell you that I enjoyed both Dean-Charles Chapman** and George MacKay, *** I found one scene late at night in a town unbelievable, and I thought the depictions of rats was on point.****
The verdict: Good
(There will be much grumbling if this wins Best Picture. Not Green Book levels of grumbling—there will be no assigned reading—but grumbling nevertheless)
Where watched: Cinema 21 with Matt, who enjoyed it.
(Also, I noticed for the first time a private screening area in the balcony.)
Consider also watching:
- Saving Private Ryan
- Testament of Youth
*It was not.
**Although the preview clued me in about him
***He was the oldest son of Viggo Mortenson in Captain Fantastic
****Also, I’m quite happy to have avoided service during the Great War.
- What other movie razzle-dazzle (more easily created with CGI) do you want to see come back?
- What would you lean on to get through fighting a terrible war?
Favorite IMDB trivia item:
Mendes says his grandfather Alfred, who entered WWI in 1916 as a 17-year-old, did indeed carry messages through no-man’s land, as per the mission in this film. His advantage was that he was only 5’4″ tall, and was often hidden by the battleground’s winter mist that usually hung as high as 6 feet. And after soldiering for two years in the muddy trenches, grandfather Alfred had a lifelong habit of constantly washing his hands. Yet, he never talked about his wartime experience until he was in his 70s.
(Short people for the win!)