I only have a few more films to watch and review before I make my top 10 films of 2019 list and, until yesterday, Sam Mendes’ 1917 was one of them.
Coming into the film, I expected it to be great from what I had heard, but I was curious to see if it could dethrone my current film of the year, Joker.
Well, after seeing 1917, I can honestly say that it is an incredibly close call to say which of them is better.
Both are fantastic movies for very different reasons.
Set in the titular year of 1917, the film follows two soldiers, Lance Corporals William Schofield (George McKay) and Thomas Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) who are sent on a dangerous mission to call off an oncoming attack on the enemy, which is actually a trap.
If they fail, 1,600 men will be killed, including Blake’s brother.
And so begins the two soldiers’ journey in an epic war film that is a feast for the eyes, with the entire movie being made to look like one shot, from the unnatural beauty of a burning building, to the disturbing no man’s land where countless men lie dead.
If Roger Deakins does not get an Oscar for his cinematography for this film, then it will be one of the biggest snubs in Oscar history.
Another thing that impressed me about this film was how attached I became to both Schofield and Blake, even though we know only a few things about them.
This reminded me a lot of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.
My one issue with Dunkirk is that I initially found it very difficult to care for the characters because we knew virtually nothing about them.
However, 1917 found a way to keep Schofield and Blake’s backgrounds vague enough, while revealing enough information about them for us to care at the beginning, and then allowing our admiration for them to grow through their actions.
This all culminates in various intense war scenes that had me clenching the arm of the movie seat I was in like crazy.
Two particular scenes, one of them in a destroyed town and the climax of the film, will stick in my head for a while because of how intense they are.
I even came close to crying at a few points but managed to persevere.
My family, who I went to see the movie with, on the other hand, could not hold it in, which tells you how emotionally investing this film is.
1917 is easily one of the best films of the year.
It has been getting a lot of Best Picture Oscar buzz and I can definitely see why.
I’m still considering if I like it more than Joker but, even if I decide I like that film more, you can expect to see 1917 high up when I eventually do my Top 10 Films of 2019 list.