Up next in my Year of Free Movies is '1917' which just got 10 nominations for the 2020 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

This one is not to be missed. However, my first advice, sit a bit further back in the theater if you are at a larger screen. The camera movements are fast and continuous so my eyes bugged out a bit. The movement, likely due to digital print was blurry/choppy at times and that is likely an indictment on the technology, not the filming.

Taking place over the course of one day, April 6, 1917 in WWI this film is a visual stunner. Meant to be seen as one continuous camera scene, and is masterfully executed. If this doesn't take the Oscar for "Best Cinematography" it would be a shame.

You'll find yourself immersed in the details as if in the 3rd person, feeling like you are following along in the horrid trenches of war. Its jarring at times. The extras in the trench scenes are the unsung heroes of this film. There are seemingly hundreds, and it all feels so real and authentic. Whatever research was done on how soldiers fill the time and boredom in the trenches during inactivity was brilliant.

The gist of the story here is that you are following along in a race against time as two 'runners' attempt to cross No Man's Land heading past the front and towards the Hindenburg line in an effort to stop a planned attack on the German's. While that doesn't sound like much, I was locked in from the first scene barely able to look away to grab my drink.

As far as war movies go this one isn't all that violent, however the result of violence is all around you. I've never seen more dead bodies in a film, and this should be avoided if that sort of thing bothers you. I imagine that would be pretty obvious to anyone who knows a lick about WWI but just in case. With that being said, I found it helpful to have my own working knowledge of that war but it's certainly not necessary. This is based around true events, but as I understand it not specifically one in particular.

The lead actors, Dean-Charles Chapman & George MacKay, are previously unknown to me, but both are fantastic. The ones you've likely heard of play very short roles in the film, and that serves it well. Sometimes in films like this I find that the popular, known actors can be distracting.

There is very little to find fault in here, I think this was a fantastic success. The horrors of war are unimaginable to most of us, but this offers a glimpse into a small part of what that might have been like. The details in this film are what make it so great, I imagine I could watch it again and see so much that I missed. Attention to detail on set design, and extras put this on the must see list for me. I read somewhere that nearly a mile of trench was dug for this film.

Go see it! If you do, let me know what you thought. Thanks again to Essex Cinemas, check them out!

PS - If you haven't seen Peter Jackson's "They Shall Not Grow Old" you should.


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