1917: Once You Get in it, There is no Going Back | by Ishika Aggarwal

‘1917’ is a war film that I consider as an exceptional work of art. It is one of those films where we see the technique attempting to complement the narrative. As mentioned in the title, once you get in it, there is no going back, the film is more or less like this. It keeps justifying the tagline, “Time is the Enemy”.

The film, directed by Sam Mendes is the recreation of an event in World War I where two British soldiers, Lance Corporal Schofield and Lance Corporal Blake, received an order to deliver a message to their allied fellows, crossing the enemy’s land(Germans) in a highly time-bound situation. The message informs about a potential trap laid by German troops in an attempt to instigate them (British) to attack which may impact the lives of more than 1600 comrades including Blake’s brother.

Courtesy – Universal Pictures

The film is extremely special because of the shooting and editing style. Provided the fact that the film desires the audience to keep moving with the subjects, the whole film gives a visual impact it is a single take. The probable reason behind this is Mendes wanted the audience to feel the spontaneity of the warfare, hence the film gives an effect as if the events are happening in one go. The beautiful cinematography and continuity editing always keep the audience going in the film.

Although, it is not the first time when continuous shots have been used that way when the narrative stays on two subjects – that later shifts to one – hence, doing so, appears to be exceptionally creative and brave of Mendes.

Cinematographer and legend, Roger Deakins

Apart from the cinematography, the misc – en – scene of the film is something worth appreciating. At no point, one will get detached from the warzone. Whatever comes on the screen can be absorbed as real as any warzone can appear. There are bodies, there are insects, there are skeletons along with enough traces of the logistics of the area. Everything will look so natural and so real.

It would be wrong on my part if I don’t mention and appreciate the exceptional acting of George Mackay (Schofield) and Dean Chapman (Blake). Both of them have played their parts with extreme beauty and honestly. There was emotion, there was excitement and there was an understanding in the character they were representing.

There was emotion, there was excitement and there was an understanding in the character they were representing.

This film is one of those films where you can actually feel that you are in the warzone. Each and every element of the film will talk to you as lively as possible. Every scene speaks for itself and with the continuous shot, one can actually feel and move with the character. Yes, so once you are in the film, there is no going back and this is what makes it more beautiful. 

About the Writer

Ishika Aggarwal is an aspiring writer and a budding filmmaker. For her, films are a mirror to the society. With every work of art, she tries to find out the elements that have subtle relevance and resemblance to the real-life and society. 

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