Sam Mendes brings the First World War to screen in thrilling fashion with his new film 1917, which is now playing in limited release in North America. The film, presented as one interrupted shot, follows two young soldiers (George Mackay and Dean-Charles Chapman) in the Spring of 1917. With the Germans seemingly in retreat, the two young men are tasked with an incredibly dangerous task. They are ordered to deliver a message to British troops deep in enemy territory who are about to walk into an ambush which could see 1600 British soldiers killed, with one of the men’s brothers amongst them. Against the clock with a seemingly impossible task, the film charts in real-time the dangers and perils that the two men come across on their journey. The film, co-written with Krysty Wilson-Cairns, also features appearances from such great British character actors as Andrew Scott, Mark Strong, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch.
A very immediate, thrilling and nerve-racking experience, 1917 is both a technical marvel and a fascinating depiction of what it might have been like to be on the front in the War to end all wars. With exceptional work of regular Mendes collaborators such as cinematographer Roger Deakins and composer Thomas Newman to everyone both on and behind the screen each individual brings their A-game to present a war film experience unlike any other. You can check out Matt Goldberg’s ecstatic review on the site now.
My interview with co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns (who was also a writer on the Mendes-produced TV show Penny Dreadful) sees us discuss her obsession with history, the importance of taking lessons from the past, the inspiration of works from The Great War and much more.
Check it out in the player above and below is the official synopsis and final trailer.
Here’s the official synopsis for 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.