War is a horrible act, there is no escaping that. Films have depicted that for a number of years, many making sure they capture the true horror of war for all to see. With 1917, Sam Mendes delivers a war film like nothing I've ever seen before, throwing the audience right on the frontline with a truly immersive experience.

Two young British soldiers during the First World War are given an impossible mission: deliver a message deep in enemy territory that will stop 1,600 men, and one of the soldiers' brothers, from walking straight into a deadly trap.
1917 is a feat of filmmaking within the war genre, filmed to look like one continuous take, and it may just be the best film from Sam Mendes yet. The long take can be quite gimmicky however, it's use here aids the storytelling in such a way that you can't help but feel as if you're in the middle of the war yourself. You're there with the two young soldiers, whether it be cautiously crossing No Man's Land or running from enemy troops, up close and personal throughout, and it's just such a relentlessly thrilling film that I was left breathless by the end. 

The camerawork in 1917 is utterly stunning, Roger Deakins proving once again just how much of a genius he really is. The closeness of it all lets us get to know just who these men are and what exactly is it they are fighting for, all while portraying just how suffocating war can be with some exhilarating yet anxiety inducing set-pieces. Accompany that with Thomas Newman's beautiful score and 1917 becomes an even more powerful beast, the soaring crescendo towards the end in particular hitting me with a wave of emotion.

1917 may be technical marvel but it wouldn't be anything without the two lead performances, George MacKay in particular. Both he and Dean-Charles Chapman make this a story to really care about as they deliver performances of both bravery and fear, the latter making this quite a tough watch at times. Other than these two, 1917 is a who's who of major British talent making up the numbers, Mark Strong being the one I just know had to make an appearance.

It's only January but I doubt many films will come close to topping 1917 in 2020, a true masterpiece that will no doubt be a future classic. I would certainly be happy with this walking away with Best Picture at the Academy Awards and for George MacKay to be getting a Best Actor nod for his great work here.

Verdict: ★★★★★


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