I watched 1917 earlier this week. Unfortunately, Sam Mendes’ WWI epic is only being released in South Africa in January which means I’m still under local embargo and can’t talk about it. And hot damn do I want to talk about it fully! Based on what little I’m allowed to divulge online, all I will say is that it’s a cinematic masterpiece. It’s one of the greatest war films ever made and for me, without a doubt, the best damn film this year… that you will only watch next year.
One major aspect of what makes this film so incredible is Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins shooting the entire film as if it’s a single long-take. There’s obviously some trickery involved, but the effect is astounding and deserves to win all the awards! We’ve already seen a brief featurette in which the filmmakers take you behind the scenes on how they pulled this movie magic off, but a new 11-minute long extended featurette has been released that delves much deeper.
On top of that, the featurette also explains how this movie came about: In a nutshell, Mendes was living up to that old adage of “If you want something done right, then do it yourself!”.
After finishing the last Bond movie, I wanted to try and do something that I’d never done before. I kept reading scripts and there was nothing I wanted to do. Eventually, my agent, and Pippa [Harris], said why don’t you write your own script?
As a note during the film’s end-credits explains (I guess that’s not a spoiler), 1917 is made in memory of Mendes WWI veteran grandfather.
The idea for the movie came from when I was a very small kid. My grandfather fought in the first World War. His name is Alfred Hubert Mendes. He went to war in 1917 and was a messenger on the front-lines, and he was given the job of carrying a message from post-to-post.
That idea of carrying a message is what led to 1917’s tale of two young soldiers (played by Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay) who need to make it across the enemy-infested countryside to relay new orders to a division that will save them from walking into a trap. It’s a simple premise, but a hellishly effective one. Which you folks will see for yourself next year.
Check out the full featurette below:
1917 is scheduled for release in South African cinemas on 17 January 2020.
Last Updated: December 13, 2019