Directed by Sam Medez, this movie takes hold of you from the very first frame and never lets go.
The plot is based on a true story, or stories, from the Western Front on 6 April 1917. Whilst Firth and Cumberback are both in the cast, their roles are minor, the leads being George Mackay and Dean Charles, who take you on a non-stop journey through the battlefield. Cleverly, the movie appears to have been shot with hand held cameras in only one take (it couldn’t have been!). The action is continuous, in “real time” and closely follows the two leads for the duration, with the hand-held cameras, mostly in close-up, keeping you right in the middle of the action. It is totally immersive.
This is a technical tour de force, with over 500 people involved in the special effects and digital imagery alone, and the battlefield is astonishingly real.
But this British movie is not just a typical action war movie – it is far more. The gradual discovery of the backgrounds and personalities of the two leads and the interplays between them and the other characters, are fascinating to watch. Anyone who has been in the army would recognise the authenticity of the portrayals of the various officer, sergeant and lance corporal types.
No wonder 1917 has won so many awards. Like any movie, it will not appeal to everyone, but, in my opinion, it is a cinematic masterpiece not to be missed.