It’s been a good time for World War I buffs – especially if they’re also movie buffs. A year ago, director Peter Jackson applied modern technology to century-old war footage to bring the Great War alive with sudden, stunning immediacy in his documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old.”
And now, in the feature film “1917,” another of our most talented directors, Sam Mendes, has similarly taken top technology – and the best cinematography, courtesy of Roger Deakins – to give us a different, equally compelling look at that cruel war, through the eyes of two ordinary soldiers asked to perform an extraordinary task.
The special sauce here is that “1917” appears as if it were shot in one seamless take – or two, if you include one spot where it seems clear a break probably occurred. Actually, there are dozens of cuts, but they’re ingeniously hidden by editor Lee Smith, and the longest continuous shot is only about eight minutes.