1917

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Wick's Review

Created Jan 17, 2020 05:04AM PST • Edited Jun 13, 2020 07:25PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    The War To End All Wars gets its closeup in 1917, titled after a year little known to we 21st century people. WWI has been largely terra incognita at the movies, even as WWII flicks are dime a dozen, a Dirty Dozen. The struggle against the Nazi nightmare seems intimately familiar as a result, especially for pre-millenials.

    Thus, we disdain ‘30s and ’40s Brits & Yanks for letting Hitler rise on the Continent. 1917 explains why the British didn’t want war with Germany less than 20 years after World War I ended. The War To End All Wars was a complete shitshow, a savage mix of newly industrialized warfare and warhorse armies. Almost ten million soldiers, nearly as many civilians and scores of warhorses were killed. A resulting flu pandemic then killed 100 million people. The War To End All Wars didn’t, its savagery surpassed but never matched.

    And now, The War To End All Wars has a movie equal to its vast historical moment. The Saving Private Ryan of WWI movies, 1917 focuses on a quest to save a specific soldier and is an overwhelmingly intimate immersion into an unfathomable battle, as we’ve never experienced it before. Sir Sam Mendes, take a bow.

    Is it 2019’s Best Picture? Yes, along with Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Ford v Ferrari, Parasite & Joker. More importantly, Sir Sam’s 1917 implants the Seminal Catastrophe in the 21st century mind, a long overdue development that is worthy of a knighthood for one of today’s greatest British moviemakers.

  3. Great 4.0

    Young stars George MacKay & Dean-Charles Chapman carry 1917 in a POV death march, and do it well.

    Several big names contribute a scene each.

    • Colin Firth as a besieged general
    • Mark Strong as a crisp captain
    • Benedict Cumberbatch as an unconquerable colonel
  4. Male Stars Great 4.0
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Perfect 5.0

    A previously unseen parade of horribles is necessary to enter the pantheon of all-time great war movies. 1917 has them, and reveals them in POV – a POV parade of horribles the likes of which haven’t been seen before. Ashen faces are the least of 1917’s nightmarish images. Sir Sam Mendes & cinematographer Roger Deakins are well into gold statuette territory here. Fittingly, Spielberg’s Amblin Pictures helped produce it.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0

    Sir Sam Mendes is the Brit who made the Yank classic American Beauty.

    He also created Skyfall, a nifty episode of the James Bond saga, original, not from an Ian Fleming novel.

  10. Play Perfect 5.0

    Mendes and cowriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns fashioned a pithy quest story along the lines of Saving Private Ryan, where a small unit (just two soldiers in this case) traverse a war zone to reach a specific soldier.

  11. Music Perfect 5.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    Fifty stuntmen are vastly outnumbered by model-makers, set dressers and other movie magicians.

  13. Content
  14. Sordid 2.7
  15. Sex Innocent 1.0
  16. Violence Savage 4.5
  17. Rudeness Profane 2.6
  18. Glib 1.5

    Sir Sam Mendes conceived 1917 by channeling his grandfather’s war stories from the Seminal Catastrophe. Given this, I’m judging the circoreality as 2X normal to allow for freely admitted creative license.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 2.0

    Creative license detailed in the nearby video.

  20. Biological Glib 1.3
  21. Physical Glib 1.3

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