Most war epics like director/co-writer Sam Mendes’ upcoming World War I drama, 1917, show a wide array of action, cutting from location to location to showcase the true scope of the historic conflict it’s trying to convey. But Mendes wasn’t content with making this film a business as usual war epic — in fact, he conceived it with one special conceit in mind. The entire film, from start to finish, is a grueling personal drama told in one, continuous shot over two hours of real time.
Inspired by an account of his grandfather’s service during what was once known as “The Great War”, 1917 focuses solely on the perspective of a pair of soldiers (George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) who are tasked with an important mission. They must race against the clock to deliver a message that will prevent an attack in the name of saving countless lives, and they will make their way through various landscapes to complete their task.
A breathless journey calls for a similarly exciting approach to filmmaking, as Sam Mendes, along with a crew that includes legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins, had to be very careful how to shoot 1917. With the constant focus of one continuous shot, there was a lot of rehearsal and planning required to keep the film in continuity with the vision that Mendes co-wrote with writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns.
You can learn even more about the work that had to be put into the wildly ambitious shooting of 1917 in the behind-the-scenes video below:
Much like director Christopher Nolan approached DUNKIRK with a three-pronged story that progressed in three unique measures of time, Sam Mendes has brought both a gimmick and incredible story that look to make 1917 a very unique experience. Heart and heroism go side by side in this personal journey, and the audience will be able to follow every step as it happens, without any visual shortcuts or interruptions.
The intensity of one single line of action and suspense to follow throughout a compact journey into the hell that is warfare is something that will not only attract the attention of industry awards voters, but also audiences looking to enjoy a film so epic, it’s reserved for one of the most competitive movie seasons on the calendar.
1917 arrives in limited release on Christmas day, with the wide release slated for January 10, 2020. Check back on our website for tickets to this hotly anticipated film.