I did gasp at some of the perilous activity of the two valiant, young soldiers. I was in awe of some of the stunning visuals. Technically, it's marvelous. The acting was good. As for 1917 as a whole, let me put it to you like this: Remember back in the 1980s when having nouvelle cuisine in trendy, new restaurants was the thing? The chefs were personalities. The presentation was like performance art. The plates were larger than the ones in your kitchen at home. In the restaurant, you'd get these big, fancy plates with little-bitty portions of gourmet food. It was all very posh. You felt oh, so sophisticated. However, on the way home, you were definitely stopping at the nearby pizza joint to grab a couple o' slices or a whole pie -- because you were still friggin' hungry. That's 1917 from director Sam Mendes. It's a big, fancy plate with little-bitty portions of gourmet food that leave you still hungry. It looks excellent, but there's really not much to fill you up. The film doesn't have much of a story and, for that matter, much of a soul. It's quite different from JARHEAD, his much better 2005 film about a bookworm U.S. Marine sniper who wants to shoot and kill in the Gulf War and then must check that lethal desire.
Did you see the Stanley Kubrick classic from 1957, PATHS OF GLORY? It too is a World War 1 drama. Kirk Douglas starred as the moral center of that wartime drama. Kubrick gives us memorable tracking shots in PATHS OF GLORY. You'll see a bit of one in this trailer. Click onto the link:
When the film ended, instead of absorbing the emotional journey the characters had just taken me on, instead of thinking about the message of the film, I was wondering "Wow. How did Mendes do all those tracking shots?"