1917 (Sam Mendes – 2019) A

Every so often we get to see something really spectacular at the movies. The film opens on Lance Corporal Blake and Lance Corporal Schofield in a field, one resting on a tree, the other lying on his back in the grass. It’s a beautiful day. It’s 1917 and they are in the field during World War I. When the film wraps up they are in the same positions, more or less, but several miles away across German front lines. We stay with them as they go on their assignment, to alert another regiment that they are going to be walking into a trap. The film is made to seem like the whole adventure is one continuous shot. This style is both an amazing trick, a beautifully choreographed technical marvel. It is more than an exercise though, it adds so much pressure and intensity to the movie. It never lets up. When one of our two corporals is mortally injured we have to stay with him, we know we will have to be there until the last breath because, well, the other one has to be by his side. There really is no false steps in Mendes’ movie. I loved every minute of it and especially the final 10 minutes or so as we get hope, futility, heroism and friendship all up there on the screen back to back.

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