‘1917’ is terrifyingly beautiful

A unique take on a classic genre


George MacKay plays lance corporal Schofield in “1917.” Image provided by Francois Duhamel/Universal Pictures

Nic Myers, Web Editor

The opening shot of 1917 takes us back into World War I. While many other films have done the same thing, this isn’t your typical war film. The director Sam Mendes created this one with one idea in mind: make the audience feel like they were in the war. 

1917 follows the story of two British soldiers, lance corporals Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman). When Schofield and Blake are introduced, they are seen resting in a field. This moment is one of the last times they, or even the audience, will be able to catch a breath. From here, the audience is taken through the journey of a daunting mission that involves the two soldiers traversing across enemy lines to deliver a message to the front lines to stop an impending attack that could end with thousands of casualties. Among those that could be killed is Blake’s brother (Richard Madden) which makes the mission personal for lance corporal Blake. 

What makes 1917 stand out from all the other war movies is that this one was filmed from start to finish in a continuous shot with no obvious cuts. The cinematographer, Roger Deakins, carefully planned out every single scene with Sam Mendes, which allowed the audience to never leave Schofield and Blake’s side. This makes the audience feel what it was actually like to be in their position. Not only is the movie put together in a stunning way, but the actors George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman both give an amazing performance that really sells the idea that they’re fighting in World War I. 

1917 went on to earn nine total awards for its groundbreaking storytelling and cinematography including a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama and a Satellite Award for Best Cinematography. 

After my first watch through of the movie I was left sitting in my seat in shock because I knew that this movie would become something special that will be talked about for a long time to come. While the harrowing story of racing against the clock to stop an attack was not true, it was still made believable through the hard work that was put in on this project. For me, this was one of the most beautiful yet terrifying films I’ve ever seen and will be one that I will still come back to and watch again.