Country: USA, UK
some of the best war movies, probably forgetting some good ones…paths of glory, full metal jacket, great escape, all quiet on the western front, platoon, saving private ryan, dunkirk, das boot, stalag 17…1917 joins the list.
Really great film from beginning to end. Grabs you right away and you realize pretty early on that you’re watching a single shot. There are a few tricks to make it work, but it’s mostly the real thing. It’s not Russian Ark or even Rope, but this is a more difficult film to shoot than Rope and it’s definitely better than Russian Ark. The cinematography is amazing and should win the oscar. Roger Deakins is one of
the best of all-time and he kills it here. The look is great, but the camera movement and where it goes is even more impressive. I don’t know how they did it.
So, as a technical achievement, this is an amazing film and that’s all fine enough. As a piece of artwork it’s just as good, or better. The way it grabs you, the way it shows you the horrors of war, the quick bonds that are formed, the kid singing in the middle of the forest (reminiscent of Paths of Glory), the artistry of the tracking shots in the trenches (Paths of Glory again), the tracking shot during the battle
(perpendicular to Paths of Glory), the range of human emotion, the cleansing of the river with the falling cherry tree blossoms that leads to a river of dead….just so many great scenes and emotions and artistic decisions. The sniper scene reminded me of Full Metal Jacket. I guess you could say it was derivative if you were really cynical, but I’d say it’s more like Reservoir Dogs or Tarantino in general – all
these moments that are pulled from other great war films are homages – hip-hop samples done to create a new film. This is its own thing and it’s wonderfully done. Best film of the year.