The last war movie I saw was Saving Private Ryan, which opens with the very graphic, gory images of the D-day landings. I expected something similar with 1917. It was not that way, instead the first ten minutes are used to immerse the viewer in the World War One setting, and to introduce the two main characters who appear very young, just as soldiers in that conflict were.
One of the things that contributes to the atmosphere that is created in this film is the amazing camerawork. The camera lingers on the right images for just the right amount of time. For example. Our first view of the allies front line is created by zooming in on the mounds of earth and barbed wire then the camera pans along the wire for a good thirty seconds.
This really is cinema as art and takes the audience into the setting to a degree unlike any other film I’ve seen recently. Because this is so effective, there is little need for graphic violence. The story can continue without any need to have an anti-war agenda and that is what it is, a story set during the war, not a movie about war.
It was interesting to see the movie was directed by Sam Mendes, a man who has done many “lite” films such as Charlie and the Chocolate factory. I was interested in why he should take on WWI. The dedication in the credits is to his grandfather who served in the war and used his stories.
The characters are well drawn but this is not a character-based movie. The script is very well written and the camera work needs to be seen.
So in short, Go and see this film and just for interest, take note of the different camera shots.
Nick Scott Nick Scott has a B.A from The University of Waikato where he studied film under Sam Edwards. Nick has retained a keen interest in cinema. He studied Te Reo Maori at Te Wananga O Aotearoa part-time for 3 years and then from 2014 to 2016 Nick collaborated in writing “The Traveller’s guide to Maori Place Names”.
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