The pulse pounding action of director Sam Mendes’ 1917 is an awards season contender that fires on all cylinders with a breakneck efficiency. The story of two young men with a message that could save numerous lives, the World War I drama is possibly the most intense story to come out of The Great War in some time.
It’s all thanks to the fact that 1917 puts the viewer into the action with Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay,) in a real time adventure that shows us each and every step they take. And while Sam Mendes did cast these two young men for their quantities as relative unknowns, you’ve definitely seen them before.
In the case of Dean-Charles Chapman, you may better know the man who plays Lance Corporal Blake as a more regal presence through films like THE KING and HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones.” For fans of the latter, you’re now definitely seeing Dean-Charles as Tommen Baratheon, a pivotal character in several seasons of the show’s run.
And with George MacKay, his career has not only given him a healthy resume of films like DEFIANCE, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC, and the recent retelling of “Hamlet” in OPHELIA, he’s also taken part in various stage productions and had a role in the Stephen King miniseries “11.22.63.”
But to the public at large, Chapman and MacKay aren’t household names, and that’s exactly what Sam Mendes wanted them to anchor 1917’s emotional epic. As he’s said in interviews surrounding the movie’s release, with a pair of fresh faces starring in the leads, the audience is forced to forge a relationship with these two young men who they’re following throughout an entire battlefield.
Which makes the casting of well-renowned actors like Colin Firth, Mark Strong, and Benedict Cumberbatch in the roles of 1917’s war-time superiors all the more effective, as they pop in on the mission from time to time.
And if you had no clue who Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay were before 1917 showed them to you, you’ll certainly remember them after you see the film for yourself. A stirring tale of heroism in the face of severe stakes, this ticking clock is an experience you need to see for yourself, especially if you can make it to the film’s IMAX exhibition during release.
1917 is currently in limited release, with a wide expansion set for January 10. So check your local listings, as this movie will be moving to more screens over the next couple of weeks, as part of the AMC Artisan Films series.