Welcome back fellow readers to another column movie review of Cinema Perception for the Quad newspaper. Under this column, I will write about a notable film that recently came out, discuss its pros and cons, as well as provide my overall recommendation of the film. Also, preferred films will be at the end of this review regarding the selected genre. To those wondering if there are any spoilers present in this column, I can assure you that there will be none. If there is, it will only be something minor, but nothing major regarding the plot. Although this is only a critical review of a selected film, I would definitely recommend anyone to see the actual film, in order to gain a different perspective. After all, with great knowledge comes great responsibility. So sit back and relax as I tell you my highlights. For this issue, I will be overviewing a war film called “1917.”
If the viewer does not know what an actual war film entails, “1917” captivates the essence and the dreariness of war and the human condition. During the film, there were certain scenes where I felt compassion and uneasiness toward the main characters as they struggled over no man’s land. For those that are history fans, no man’s land is an area in which no soldier crosses over. If crossed, death is the only thing that soldier would experience. As a history major, I personally felt director Sam Mendes knew the historical topic and the scenery that went with it. According to a news article by Alex Nelson, “1917” is “loosely based on the director’s grandfather, Alfred H. Mendes,” who served with the British during World War I. In addition to its surreal environment and realism of war, the cinematography was brilliant. There was one scene where I felt I did not know which character was going to die or live, as the camera panned away from the characters and into the war conflict that was all around them. Throughout the film, the main characters were the fixation and with the camera continuously rolling around them, it felt almost like experiencing real life combat.
The only drawbacks that I saw in “1917” were its lack of military combat and time duration. During World War I, there were significant battles that marked the lethality of war. In particular, the omission of poison gas made me ponder if the director was going to implement this weapon later in the film. The main reason for this film to omit gas and frequent firefights had to do with no man’s land scenes with the main cast and the ongoing stealth that followed. To witness and visualize what no man’s land entails can truly horrify the average viewer to the point of gasping. Rest assured, cinematography and the special effects that went with artillery shell explosions made me forget about that essential piece in the film. The only other problem that I had with the film was its pacing. Clocking in at nearly two hours, I found some of the scenes dragged on for a while. There was one scene where I found myself wondering why the director had to include a civilian refugee and frequent talk scenes littered throughout the film. Loneliness, as it seems, evaporates from the film when a firefight commences or the arrival of an incoming squadron. Despite its slow pacing and scattered dialogue scenes, the film still captivated me to watch on and see if the main character would ever reach his destination.
Out of all of the films nominated for this year’s Oscars for best picture, “1917” should definitely win this award since it made the viewer ponder about the nature of war and the actions taken from officers. War film watchers and history fans alike would love this film, and I definitely recommend watching it for the stunning special effects and non-stop cinematography. If “1917” is not the war film to watch, I also recommend watching the World War II thriller films “Dunkirk” or “Midway.” To anybody that has thoughts or comments about this review, feel free to email at my WCU email for your deep insight about the film. Until the next issue, this is Nicholas Bartelmo signing off from Cinema Perception.
Nicholas Bartelmo is a fifth-year student majoring in history. NB790429@wcupa.edu.