1917 is a technical marvel… and not much else.
“To some degree, knocking 1917 for being all style and zero lasting substance is unfair. For one, ‘technical marvel but emotionally hollow’ has kind of been Mendes’ thing for his entire career, from American Beauty to Road to Perdition to even Skyfall. He’s basically the Aldi-brand Christopher Nolan, but it is a style which has worked every now and again, most notably in Jarhead. For two, if you choose to base your film around a one-take gimmick, or even just including a double-digit-length take like in One Cut of the Dead, you are admitting up front that the spectacle/fun of the thing is going to be the primary concern of your movie. Pure moviemaking first, lasting emotional and thematic resonance second. It’s a wilful sacrifice communicated upfront to the audience… In 1917’s best moments, the gimmick genuinely works and offers an immediacy and tangibility to a war that, thanks to the sad truth of the limited means of documenting events at the time, can often be hard to grasp or misrepresented in other tellings… At the film’s weakest moments, which is basically any moment where things slow down and take a breather, [the] gimmick makes the film feel like a big-budget videogame you’re not actually allowed to play.”
Full review exclusively over at Soundsphere Magazine (link).
Callum Petch is friend only to the undertaker.