1917 movie poster

1917

In theaters January 10, 2020

Rated

110 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , ,

1917 looks incredible.

The story is long shots of the horrors of the First World War, amazing night shots lit only by flames, burn in the background. It’s a visual study in long shots and a  master class in using setting as dramatic tension.

It is short, however, on story.  Lieutenant Leslie (Andrew Scott) and Lieutenant Blake (Richard Madden) receive orders to deliver a message of vital importance to the advancing front line. They have to cross enemy territory on foot, dodging germans, snipers, and planes. They’re on a tight schedule, so there’s no time to dawdle, but it’s still a lot of walking.

It’s a movie primarily carried by a cast of two men, and it’s hard to keep it interesting with little to talk about except how hard the walk is. They’re soldiers, so there’s no discussing the war or how well it’s going or how people at home see things. It’s quite literally two guys walking, and even during wartime, there’s not a lot of there.

Look, 1917 looks and feels like a 1st person shooter game, and every scene is just preparation to react to what happens in the next scene. Leslie walks, picks stuff up, shoots, runs, climbs into vehicles, he shots at shoots, runs, etc. It’s loud, and I say this as someone who previewed this movie in my home theater set up via studio-sent screener, and not in a movie theater. I was constantly turning it down, which made the sparse dialogue hard to hear – I’m a subtitles person, but you don’t have that luxury in a theater.

I don’t know how director Sam Mendes could have made this more relatable or compelling to your average viewer, especially folks who don’t typically tune-in to WWI movies. It’s almost 2 hours without a whole lot going on, but if you stick around long enough, you’ll catch Mark Strong, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch. That could be worth the cost of admission.

1917 is rated R for swears and all of the horrors of war – guns, shooting, bombings, explosions, stabbings, open murder, and lots of blood.

Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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