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1917

Format(s) Available
DIGITAL
3D
IMAX
ATMOS
3D ATMOS
Opening Date
09 Jan 2020
Rating
PG13 Some Violence and Coarse Language
Runtime
119 mins
Language
English with Chinese subtitles
Genre
Drama, War
Director
Sam Mendes
Cast
George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch
Synopsis
Sam Mendes, the Oscar®-winning director of Skyfall, Spectre and American Beauty, brings his singular vision to his World War I epic,1917.

At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (Captain Fantastic’s George MacKay) and Blake (Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them.
Reviews
By Abel Teo  09 Jan 2020
1917 is the incredible tale of 1,600 men’s fates resting on the reluctant persistence of one soldier.
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1917 is the incredible tale of 1,600 men’s fates resting on the reluctant persistence of one soldier.

Based on stories told by Alfred H. Mendes, the grandfather of director Sam Mendes to his grandson, the film is set against the backdrop of World War I which happened between 1914 and 1918, in the spring of 1917 in northern France. Two British soldiers, Schofield and Blake had been tasked to deliver a message to the Second Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment, commanding them to stop the attacks against the Germans after the latter had retreated. Intelligence suggested that the Germans was laying a trap by doing so, with the intent to ambush the battalion of 1,600 men, with Blake's brother amongst them.

Along their treacherous journey to the frontline, the duo encounter several traps and Blake dies midway. Schofield to left to carry on the mission by himself, with the lives of 1,600 lying squarely in his hands to make sure the message is delivered to commander Colonel Mackenzie.

1917 was nominated for 3 Golden Globes for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Score and won the former two - and It’s not hard to see why.  The most obvious is that Director Sam Mendes has used some clever camera tricks to give the impression the entire film is done in a single shot, at least to the viewer. Scenes flow from one to the other without any cuts in between them, and some very ingenious choreography incorporated. While the ‘one-shot’ technique is nothing new, and has been used in films such as Birdman in recent times. 1917 manages to immerse the audience in greater urgency and brings us closer to the action of the war. At the same time, it can’t help but also make the film appear to be a little showy at times, and distract the audience from some pivotal moments. Time is also warped insidiously with this technique. Instead of a real-time development, we are moving across almost a day across the time span of two hours in the cinema. All in all, advances in technology have indeed contributed to the cinematic technique of this film in a positive way compared to a film like Ang Lee’s Gemini Man.


Actor George Mackay, while not having leading man looks, has an English look which helped him convince us of his unenviable and very dangerous journey into enemy fire. His exhaustion is written all over his face, even though he had no choice but to keep going on. The supporting cast carries little of the film, even though big names such as Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Richard Madden, Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman, as well as Sherlock Alumni Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Scott fill in as other army personnel on the war front. More importantly, another key ‘actor’ would be the film's set design. Showing us the grittiness and horrors of the times with just enough realism without going into self-congratulatory pat-on-the-back. One would readily nominate them for best art direction and set design for the upcoming Academy Awards. This is followed closely by the film scored written by Thomas Newman who has composed for many emotional and dramatic films such as The Green Mile, Wall-E.

Even if you may not be a fan of war films, this is one movie you can find strength in the character’s journey to an uncertain fate, and marvel at the artistry by so many unseen hands supporting the lone wolf in putting this visual spectacle together.
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By Rachelle  04 Jan 2020
1917 is a technical masterpiece.
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British soldiers Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay) are tasked to deliver an important message across to their comrade in arms, to call off their planned attack on the German forces. The task is more important to Blake as he has a brother in the battalion of 1600 men that the German army will ambush if Schofield and himself do not deliver the message in time. The two young soldiers face multiple obstacles as they try to stay alive in an active war zone in order to complete their mission.

This might come as a bit of a shock but 1917 isn’t based on any true story, despite how real everything about it felt. But it isn’t entirely fictionalised either as director Sam Mendes built the screenplay with his co-writer from stories his late grandfather who served in World War 1 as a young teen had told him. 

1917 isn’t intentionally shot with one-take, but it is. Sort of. And it’s because of this that this film will be one of the best things you’ll see all year. Watching the series of continuous shots and minimal cuts will make you feel as if you’re right there with them on that mission. It’s definitely a tough feat for all involved, especially the set designer and cinematographer but if there’s any cinematography master to step up to the challenge, it’s Academy-Award winner Roger Deakins. His beautiful scenic shots paired with Thomas Newman’s spiritual war symphony truly set the tone of the film and raises the bar for any war movies to come.

But these technical wonders are all for naught if the film doesn’t have the right cast to carry the film from start to end. Luckily for them, MacKay does an incredibly convincing job being a lone determined young soldier who’s seen the depths of war, bearing the weighty film on his broad shoulders while his more famous co-stars like Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Scott who only get screen time for one scene each make the most with all they've got.

Go see 1917 on the big screen. You will not regret it.
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