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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Cindy Prascik's Review of 1917

Yesterday it was off to the cinema for a long-awaited and much-anticipated screening of 1917.

Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailer. In the midst of World War I, a pair of British soldiers is sent on a dangerous mission to deliver an important message.

Dearest reader(s), my expectations for 1917 were so high--SO HIGH--and the movie managed to exceed them in every way. 1917 is a close-up depiction of both the horror and the heroism of war.

Lacking big battle scenes, it follows two young men on a harrowing and deeply personal mission. Bigger names in the cast, including Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew Scott, Mark Strong, and Richard Madden, turn up for what amounts to little more than cameos, while George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman do the heavy lifting. A fine job of it they do, particularly MacKay, who surely should have been acknowledged among the year's finest performances. The movie is mostly quiet and deliberate, with the subdued soundtrack providing an ominous undertone, so each burst of noisy violence is an ugly shock to the system. The "single shot" format (actually several long shots) is highly effective, making the perilous journey feel almost like real time. 1917 looks gorgeous and offers a gut-punch or two to remind everyone of the terrible cost of war.

Art is subjective, and I don't think anyone's opinion is more valid than anyone else's; however, if you're reading this, I assume you're at least somewhat interested in mine, so here's the bottom line: When I watch a movie like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood or the Irishman, much of what I see on the screen is the director's ego. The beauty of great art is that there is no trace of that; every person's effort--however extraordinary--is entirely in service to the art itself. Many exceptional talents conspired to create the work of art that is 1917, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood isn't fit to carry its muddy boots.

1917 clocks in at 119 minutes and is rated R for "violence, some disturbing images, and language."

1917 is a reminder of how magical a truly exceptional film can make the cinema experience.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, 1917 gets all nine. Until next time...

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