ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – # – 1917 (2019) Movie Rob’s Pick


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“But, chin up. There’s a medal in it for sure. Nothing like a scrap of ribbon to cheer up a widow.” – Lieutenant Leslie

Number of Times Seen – 3 (2 Jan 2020, 2 Feb 2020 and 26 Mar 2020)

Link to original review – Here and Here

Brief Synopsis – Two soldiers are sent on a dangerous yet essential mission during World War I where they must try and stop an attack before it happens because high command believes that it is a trap.

My Take on it – When trying to choose a second film to watch for this month’s theme, my first instinct was to watch this movie again.

Unfortunately due to the world wide Corona Virus Outbreak, all of our lives have been put in to disarray and I had to drop my plans of rewatching this while needing to acquaint myself with the new realities of working at home with 4 kids home from school all day.

After a week of trying to find some kind of semblance of a schedule for myself, I was able to find time to rewatch this film.

This is a film that is made for the theatrical experience, but it still works almost as well on a screen at home.

They do an amazing job giving us a simple war story that is quite poignant and works on so many levels in order to give us such a profound experience again and again.

The film’s use of a single track shot helps allow the viewer to feel the story in a very unique way that is both intimate and personal and remains focused on the actions of these characters especially given the fact that we get to only see a very small event within the larger sum of the actions during war.

The film is paced really well and the way it moves along allows us to get a close look at all of the horrors of war along with the good deeds that can happen along that journey.

They show us the camaraderie of brothers in arms in these difficult situations while at the same time allowing us to see the brutality of war.

The way that the story is presented allows us to use all of our senses to try and experience this story on a whole new level.

The film is quite detailed and they paint a very realistic picture of the gruesome aspects of war but that helps make things feel so much more alive and genuine the whole way through.

They even give us the impression that we can smell the stench of battle by using visual techniques like lots of flies on a dead animal that can trick us into believing that we can smell the rotting corpses due to the way that we can get so emotionally involved in all that is happening.

The way that they shot this film makes us feel as if we are right there with the characters in the thick of the battle and that allows for things to feel even more suspenseful because it takes away the distant feel that most films have and that enables us to feel even more involved in all that transpires here.

It has been 6 weeks since the Oscars and I’m still disappointing that despite this film winning 3 technical awards, it undeservingly lost the two biggest prizes of Best Director and Best Picture.

I truly believe that in a few years when we look back in hindsight at the nominees in both of those categories, we will see that this film will age much better than any of the other nominated films and wonder what the voters were thinking when they sent in their ballots in a similar fashion to what we all think about Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Shakespeare in Love (1998) 22 years after those films vied for the top award at the Oscars.

Bottom Line – Amazingly poignant war film that works on so many levels. The one track shot of the film gives us a very intimate and focused look at parts of the sum of the situation during a war.  The story moves along at a great pace and allows us to take in all of the things that occur during war. We get to see the camaraderie of brothers in arms while at the same time get to see the brutality of war.  This movie also allows us to get the feeling that we can use all of our senses while watching the story unfold.  The sights shown can be gruesome at times and the attention to detail helps make things come alive and feel so realistic the whole way through. We even get the impression that we can also smell the stench of this battlefield because we get so emotionally involved with this story as it moves along.  The way that the film is shot makes us feel as if we are right there in the center of the action with these characters and that helps make things even more suspenseful because they are able to take away the distant feeling that is used in most films.  This film was very deserving of its 3 technical Oscar but even after two months, I’m still disappointed that it lost Best Director and Picture because I think it was the most worthy film of the nominees in both categories. I think that with time as a factor, we will view this film in hindsight as being the very best of the year.  Highly Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Sam Mendes (director) and Lee Smith (editor) stated that despite the apparently continuous shot (broken only by one interval of unconsciousness), there were actually dozens of “invisible” edits, concealed by transitions through black, moves behind objects, and so on. According to Mendes, the shortest unbroken shot was 39 seconds long, while the longest single continuous shot was 8 1/2 minutes long. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (10/10) (no change from original review)

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