What we’ve been watching: 1917, a film by the Skyfall director Sam Mendes. It’s a work of technical brilliance set in WW1. Via the Guardian:
For his latest movie – an awards-garlanded first world war drama that has already won best picture honours at the Golden Globes – Mendes has returned to the lure of the “one-shot” format, this time stretching it out to feature length. Like Hitchcock’s Rope or Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman, 1917 uses several takes and set-ups, seamlessly conjoined to give the appearance of a continuous cinematic POV, albeit with periodic ellipses. The result is a populist, immersive drama that leads the viewer through the trenches and battlefields of northern France, as two young British soldiers attempt to make their way through enemy lines on 6 April 1917.
George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman are perfectly cast as Schofield and Blake, the lance corporals enlisted to venture into enemy territory with a message for fellow troops poised to launch a potentially catastrophic assault. The Germans have made a “strategic withdrawal”, suggesting that they are on the run. In fact they’re lying in wait, armed and ready to repel the planned British push. Together, these young soldiers must reach their comrades and halt the attack – a race against time and insurmountable odds.