[DN1015] 1917 – Reflection

Date & Time: 23 January 2020, 4.15pm

It took me awhile to convince myself to watch 1917 instead of Ip Man 4 that day as I am an extremely timid human being who almost never watches anything that involves me feeling great fear and anxiety. These emotions not only distract me from appreciating the plot and the cinematography, they also keep me away from a lot of wonderful works in the horror, thriller, crime and disaster genres.

Terrible as a film student but for the first half of the movie, I was very much unable to breathe in the theatre due to the suspense and tension in the atmosphere.

Details I found were interesting:
– Sam Mendes’ “one-shot” / “continuous shot” approach for 1917. The scene after Tom and Will receive orders to cross the trenches and set off across the fields strewn with dead bodies from the battle aftermaths, reminded me very much of Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory scene where General Mireau strolls through the trenches, asking several soldiers, “Ready to kill more Germans?”.

“I wanted to tell this story in two hours of “real time.” So I felt like it was a natural thing, to lock the audience into the men’s experiences. In a movie that operates more like a ticking-clock thriller at times, I wanted an audience to feel every second passing and take every step with them, and also be aware of geography and distance and physical difficulty. The feeling that you are going to have to live through the story with them is accentuated by not cutting.”

– I also enjoyed how they made the scene in the trenches aptly tight in an almost claustrophobic way that immersed us audience into the experience. It highlighted how the soldiers are like tiny ants, one in tens of thousands, tunnelling their way through safety in constant fear that the enemy could drop a bomb and kill them all. The creatively judicious decisions made truly heightened how we as audience saw and understood the story to be something more than just an ‘epic war film’.

Felt that I missed more details than I should have due to my overly emotional self, but I will be re-watching the film in the coming week. Hopefully I’ll watch it in a more critical stance this time 🙂