Movie Review: 1917

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Score: 7.4/10

1917 was nominated as for best film for the most recent Academy Awards so I figured I’d give it a watch. It’s pretty good, but relies heavily on the long-shot gimmick.

1917 takes place during World War I. Two soldiers are tasked with traveling behind enemy lines to deliver life saving orders to a general.

The biggest attraction of this film is the use of a long shots. The whole film looks as if it was filmed in a single shot with no cuts. The truth of the matter is that the film is shot in a series of long shots and those shots were digitally combined so as to look as if it were one long shot. It’s still impressive nonetheless and if you watch any behind the scenes clips one the movie, you’ll see just how much effort was made to accomplish this. They built massive sets and planned the camera path for what seems like miles.

The acting is all right, but again, it’s the camera work that takes top billing. They seemingly cast every well known English actor (at least well known in the United States) from Benedict Cumberbatch to Colin Firth. There’s a lot of big names here but the focus is on the cinematography. Other than the two protagonists, no one really gets that much time to shine in the movie.

Overall, this was an entertaining film. It relies on a gimmick in the same way that Cloverfield relied on shaky cam in order to be original. The thing about films like this is that once a film performs the gimmick well, no other films in the future can copy it because they would be redundant. You’d have to put your own twist on the idea or wait long enough for people to forget about the gimmick. Children of Men is a film that did something similar, but came out in 2006. Now that 1917 has come out, I don’t expect anyone to make another movie like this for about another ten years.

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