Grackles review 1917

Directed by Sam Mendes

Reviewed by Scott Ray and Charlie Riccardelli 

World War I, also known as the Great War, may as well be a forgotten war as far as cinema is concerned. Though chronicled in 1920s/1930s cinema like All Quiet on the Western Front, Wings, and Grand Illusion, World War II swept it away as a relevant topic for films, especially as film served a more propagandistic role by this era, and more veterans came home from that war to tell their stories on the big screen. In recent years, though, filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson have returned to these forgotten stories for the screen. Now with 1917, director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall) has made his boldest film yet, war drama told to be in real time and appear as one long take to put audiences right in the middle of the hell any soldier in battle must experience.

1917 follows British soldiers Blake and Schofield in northern France at the height of the war. A General informs Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) to hand-deliver a message to the commanding officer of the 2nd battalion that they are walking into a trap. As an incentive, Blake is told that his brother, a member of that battalion, will likely be one of many casualties if the message doesn’t reach the front in time. Blake brings along his friend Schofield (George MacKay) in their race against the clock across battlefields, fallen cities, and enemy territory to pull off a seemingly impossible mission.