A great war movie
BY JALEN LAKE
SNN Staff Writer
Best known for his directorial debut American Beauty, director Sam Mendes shows with his newest film 1917 that he knows how to use his tools to his advantage.
Along with cinematographer Roger Deakins, Mendes creates a film that is as suspenseful as it is original. Though some directors have played with the idea of cutting their films to look like one continuous shot before, none have done it on this scale: a budget of $90 million, full of explosions, gunfire and warfare.
Based in part on a story told by Mendes’ grandfather Alfred Mendes, 1917 centers on young soldiers Lance Cpl. Schofield (George McKay) and Lance Cpl. Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) on their way to deliver a message that may save the lives of 1,600 men, including Blake’s own brother. What follows next is two hours of extreme suspense as viewers trail the two young soldiers on their mission, watching them narrowly dodge certain death time and time again.
No amount of praise can accurately describe the work and inventiveness that went into crafting a film of this magnitude, though three Oscar wins can certainly go a long way toward giving the film the recognition it deserves. The film won best cinematography, best visual effects and best sound mixing.
With an especially amazing performance by McKay, noted by many critics and audiences alike, and an all-around remarkable performance from all its lead actors, the film certainly cements its place in the 2020 Academy Awards.
And of course, praise is deserved as far as the score. Composed by Thomas Newman, the music plays a crucial role in developing the story of this film. In what is possibly the most powerful scene
in the film, it’s only fitting that it is accompanied by an interlude of song. Emerging from a river following the insanity of war, we see a young man sing The Wayfaring Stranger. It’s an interlude that brings the characters and audiences together, jointly experiencing the calm before the storm that lies at the heart of conflict.
After winning Best Picture at the 2020 Golden Globes and three awards at the 2020 Oscars, this film should definitely be on your watch list for this year. This in turn makes Mendes a director to watch for 2020 and beyond, showing his creativity and genius better than ever before.