1917 (2019)

In the same way that I’m dispositioned to despise anyone from Upper St. Clair or Mt. Lebanon — Pittsburgh-centric content, yinz guys — I’m also usually on high alert to dislike Oscar bait like this film. So let me get all my vitriol out of my system before it begins: for a movie that people are proclaiming as a human experience of war, all I could see were the technological advancements and filmmaking tricks that allowed for the continuous shot style of the first half of this movie.

It’s fine. It was up for the biggest prizes in movie making and yep. It’s a fine movie. It has no real soul or reason for you to watch it more than once, but this may be more of an indictment of this reviewer than this film.

It left me cold and I felt like I was begging it for warmth. Just a casual outline of the events of the movie seem like they could be moments worth viewing, such as the choice to save or murder the downed German pilot. Instead, they are just moments.

Sam Mendes has had a wonderful run so far, between his highly regarded James Bond films, Jarhead, Road to Perdition and American Beauty. He has an eye for huge visuals and the ability to tell a great story. This isn’t a small movie, despite really only centering on one character’s experience in the war.

I probably enjoyed the scenes with the drunken soldiers blessing Schofield and Blake before they ventured into No Man’s Land more than anything else in the movie. Although I wonder what the narrative point is of the film, which informs us at the end that everything that the leads have endured was truly for nothing, as the orders will probably change in the next week. This is not the first movie I’ve watched recently that offered little to no hope. Or maybe that was just life itself.

Again — I felt like this movie was an awesome technical achievement. Perhaps the self-congratulatory nature of Hollywood and the press put me off, as I didn’t need to hear its creators sing its praises so much. Or perhaps a steady diet of Mexican, Phillipino, Hong Kong and Italian junk movies have eroded my movie watching abilities, only allowing me to savor movies where black-gloved madmen strangle women and gas-guzzling mutants rise from the grave.

Probably. So what?

One thought on “1917 (2019)

  1. I can understand a bit of this pet peeve. I am generally annoyed when a hyper good looking actor plays old or ugly in the hopes of grabbing an Oscar for what is mainly a performance of the SFX team (this year’s example being “Judy”)

    Liked by 2 people

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