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1917- Movie Review

Steven - AV May 29, 2020

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With its one-shot sequences designed to approximate a single take, World War I movie 1917 is
practically designed to call attention to itself. At times, there’s refreshingly little pretension about that
fact: this story of two young British soldiers crossing enemy territory to deliver a desperate message is
an unabashed action movie, where characters tumble from one peril to the next. But director/co-writer
Sam Mendes too often gives in to a weepy sentimentality, with frightened innocents designed to show
the compassion of Our Boys, who triumph from working together. Stitched in the middle of the
overarching one-take gimmick, many of these scenes are meant to provide downtime and breathing
room. But mostly they feel vaguely hypocritical for a film that turns WWI into the backdrop for an
adventure story, right down to the way it’s filmed. And in the end, for as stark and haunting as some of
the imagery can be, it’s hard not to feel that 1917 struggles to justify what turns into a faintly video
game-y gimmick. In limiting its cinematography toolset, 1917 sometimes creates tension but mostly
gives off the impression that it prioritizes being impressive rather than effective.

Overall grade: C

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