Universal Pictures | Release Date: December 25, 2019
8.5
USER SCORE
Universal acclaim based on 513 Ratings
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Positive:
456
Mixed:
38
Negative:
19
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6
RTMJan 5, 2020
The movie was tense, and gorgeously shot, but with so many limitations. I see where Mendes was going with this, in the way of wanting the viewer to see art, and the tension accomplished with the one long take. The problem is the long singleThe movie was tense, and gorgeously shot, but with so many limitations. I see where Mendes was going with this, in the way of wanting the viewer to see art, and the tension accomplished with the one long take. The problem is the long single shot approach here, can be exhausting, and not particularly enjoyable with this narrative. Great performances by the two young boys. But again, the development of the characters was minimal. I found myself just wanting it to be over, and not caring about them much. Lastly, for a war time movie, it was actually boring. Not enough to keep the viewer engaged. I witnessed many in the theater squirming and getting restless. Not exactly the reaction I'd expect. Overall a good movie that I wanted to be great. In the end I found myself looking for a "Saving Private Ryan" or "The Thin Red Line" type of movie. Expand
3 of 12 users found this helpful39
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6
CMCFeb 9, 2020
Typical Hollywood fare, one long video game, overly sentimental manipulative music that does not even manipulate well, a series of contrived shots art-directed to give the cinematography visual opportunities, deeply unsatisfyingTypical Hollywood fare, one long video game, overly sentimental manipulative music that does not even manipulate well, a series of contrived shots art-directed to give the cinematography visual opportunities, deeply unsatisfying underdeveloped characters, lost opportunities for character interactions that could have communicated something deeper, predictable plot. The reviews by the New Yorker, Roger Ebert, New York Times and Los Angeles Times are all spot-on. How could so many other reviewers say those stupid things and award the movie a 100 score? I give it a 6 only because it is more watchable than most movies, but these days that sure is not saying much. Many cite Saying Private Ryan, but that film had much more humanity to it. It does not hold a candle to The Thin Red Line, or possibly more importantly, Paths of Glory. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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6
GreatMartinJan 10, 2020
Right now "1917" having already winning the Best Picture Golden Globe is the front runner for Best Picture Oscar. After seeing the picture it is obvious that the visual technique of director's Sam Mendes's collaboration with cinematographerRight now "1917" having already winning the Best Picture Golden Globe is the front runner for Best Picture Oscar. After seeing the picture it is obvious that the visual technique of director's Sam Mendes's collaboration with cinematographer Roger Deakins is what makes this movie rate so high. It looks like the picture has been made in one continuous take with 2-3 exceptions which are carefully explained in the script by Sam Mendes, with the help of Krysty-Wilson Cairns and based on stories told by his uncle Alfred Mendes.

The story is a basic one of two young British soldiers who have to deliver a message to stop a raid which would be a deathtrap for 1600 men, one being a brother of one of the soldiers. One of the illogical parts of the script is that the two men are are too inexperienced to take on a task but 1) going to the movies in most cases you have to park your logic out in the lobby and 2) this takes place at the beginning of the movie when you are caught up in the film's technique so by the time you get involved with the story itself they have picked up much needed experience along with many coincidences that might not ring true.

The two leads, Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay, are more than adequate, with one carrying a heavier load than the other, while there are many cameos from such actors as Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden, Daniel Mays and Claire Duburcq.

"1917" is interesting for the way it appears to have been filmed but there have been much better war movies in the past and certainly better movies in 2019.
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1 of 4 users found this helpful13
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6
foxgroveJan 12, 2020
A film demonstrating style and technique over strong story telling. The result is actually quite slow and, dare one say, boring. This is a movie that does not match the sum of its parts. George Mackay is very good in the lead and Sam MendesA film demonstrating style and technique over strong story telling. The result is actually quite slow and, dare one say, boring. This is a movie that does not match the sum of its parts. George Mackay is very good in the lead and Sam Mendes direction, whilst to be applauded on an aesthetic level, is lacking in pace. He has to take the blame for this as the one shot gimmick leaves little room to blame it on the editing. Roger Deakins' cinematography is an amazing achievement, and the production design looks like it should for a war zone/ battlefield. Sound is great when dealing with planes and explosions but simple dialogue is sometimes hard to understand. The score, although not hummable, works very well within the film and is very effective in underlying what is going on screen. Expand
3 of 5 users found this helpful32
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6
AxeTJan 17, 2020
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The simplest storyline against the backdrop of great war it's more an exercise in high concept moving camera bravura filmmaking than a moving great war movie. Wisely given a mission plot which creates suspense it also tries hard for emotion with the tried and true brothers in arms sentiment, but it seems the main motivation was to make a seemingly seamless one shot feature length motion picture with no editing which has been done before going back to at least Hitchcock but perhaps never to this level of technical achievement traveling through such distance and complex choreographed action. While very impressive it doesn't make for the most impactful experience which cutting across time and space affords. (There is one obvious cut and several transitions that certainly were used to disguise cuts, besides ability of VFX to now eliminate such.) Hands down it should win the Oscar for Best Cinematography, but with big British stars only in cameos and unknowns in the leads the ride is somewhat diminished. Expand
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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6
thatpowerFeb 5, 2020
Great soundtrack, cinematography and visuals. Generic and uninteresting plot.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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6
Mauro_LanariJan 24, 2020
(Mauro Lanari)
"A strange game. The only winning move is not to play" ("Wargames": Badham, 1983)
A (suicide?) mission as an existential journey in the "no man's land" between two (enemy?) trenches, a "zone" which lies between the ghostly
(Mauro Lanari)
"A strange game. The only winning move is not to play" ("Wargames": Badham, 1983)
A (suicide?) mission as an existential journey in the "no man's land" between two (enemy?) trenches, a "zone" which lies between the ghostly landscape of "Stalker" (Tarkovskij, 1979) and the endopsychic one of "The Dead Zone" (King, 1979; Cronenberg, 1983), a borderline area between life and death. This is the fascinating fulcrum of "1917", not the inevitable technical virtuosity in "Oscar bait" function and still less a too often shameless playstation perspective, but the odyssey to deliver the counter-order to cancel an attack, the sense of spatiotemporal suspension, the deliberate following of (almost) empty moments, the persisted stalemates, "The Wrong Move" ("False Bewegung") of circularity, and that's what differentiates it from the journey of the soldier Bardamu, of Captain Willard, of Commander Bowman, of Captain Miller (Spielberg continues to produce Mendes with DreamWorks). "I am a poor wayfaring stranger / While traveling thru this world of woe". A little beyond sufficiency.
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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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6
Jason_bJan 9, 2020
This move does a lot of things really really well. The continuous shot concept is inventive and at times spectacular. Insanely detailed sets on a huge scale. MacKay and Chapman's performances are excellent. Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins createThis move does a lot of things really really well. The continuous shot concept is inventive and at times spectacular. Insanely detailed sets on a huge scale. MacKay and Chapman's performances are excellent. Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins create an intensely suspenseful and shockingly realistic version of World War I. However, it lags in a few crucial areas. Namely overall tone: It drums up a lot of suspense but then it also has a lot of repetitive and boring walking scenes. Production: The continuous shot concept kind of falls apart when it's not a huge action sequence. Especially when there's a lot of conversations happening at once. It's missing natural transitions and breaks in conversations. I get that it's based on a true story but aside from the soon to be famous climax this was a sort of interesting take on a largely uneventful story. Expand
3 of 4 users found this helpful31
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6
LawrenceCJan 13, 2020
Beautiful cinematography, but apart from it, it's only Call of Duty feat. Woody and chubby Leo DiCaprio
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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6
andyfilm24Feb 16, 2020
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Finally got to see 1917. A film I was hoping to see in IMAX. Thank goodness I didn't. It was a real disappointment. Great visual effects and art direction, but I lean more to watching a good story, with characters I care about. 1917, didn't have the latter. I think more time was spent on the blocking and building eye-popping sets than on the script. The character of Lance Corporal Blake was killed off WAY too soon. I would have like to have seen more time with him interacting with his friend, Lance Corporal Schofield. I think this made the film mostly cold and unfeeling. I didn't really make me feel anything when Blake was killed or the meeting of Blake's older brother. Want to see a good, emotional war flick? See Saving Private Ryan, or try to find Gallipoli. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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5
zmgalen2000Dec 28, 2019
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Allow me to start with a disclaimer: 1917 is an excellently-acted and directed film whose aesthetics are visually captivating. It truly is worthy of the cinematic praise it is receiving. However, where it falls short is its historical significance and missed-out enlightening opportunities. With a one-dimensional plot solely focused on the trek of one soldier to deliver a letter (sans providing any relevant historical context), 1917 is a suspenseful, gripping film whose appeal slowly fades throughout its repetitive runtime of just under two hours. Don't get me wrong -- the film is a fabulous source of entertainment and certainly a cinematic masterpiece. As a historical piece, however, 1917 lacks the poignancy that would have made the film a complete home-run, stopping at around third base. Expand
2 of 9 users found this helpful27
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5
OlivierPielJan 18, 2020
Why set this movie in 1917? That year was the most immobile miserable part of the war on the Western front! Setting this aside, we are constantly reminded of the technical prowess ("look at this trenchline that goes on forever", "what aWhy set this movie in 1917? That year was the most immobile miserable part of the war on the Western front! Setting this aside, we are constantly reminded of the technical prowess ("look at this trenchline that goes on forever", "what a beautifully lit night scene"...) at the expense of any real sense of involvement and feelings apart from the death of the first protagonist. Some scenes are so caricatural and preposterous it reminded me of the worst in the Revenant. Some reviewers felt like in a computer game, and they are right! Expand
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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5
DeanomiteJan 17, 2020
Roger Deakins is the most famous cinematographer working today, he gets movies made (finally got an oscar after numerous Coen movies, for BladeRunner 2049). The big thing here is that it's supposed to be 1 long take, Birdman pulled it off aRoger Deakins is the most famous cinematographer working today, he gets movies made (finally got an oscar after numerous Coen movies, for BladeRunner 2049). The big thing here is that it's supposed to be 1 long take, Birdman pulled it off a few years ago to great trophies, Children of Men is the gold standard of long takes. Sam Mendes is a talented guy, he made the gorgeous Road to Perdition, then a lot of forgettable Bond movies, this is not impressive as a work of direction. Colin Firth is always brilliant (best movie is A Single Man). Honestly i got bored about 20 minutes in and just stayed there, the song ending the second act really drove that home. I liked the Rudyard Kipling quote "He travels fastest who travels alone." A much much better recent WW1 thing was They Shall Not Grow Old, it was amazing by Peter Jackson. Expand
2 of 4 users found this helpful22
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5
DeathravenJan 26, 2020
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Mediocre
TL;DR Dull and boring but nice cinematography.
Fail to make me feel the horros of war.
Have a lot of cliche like every river in any movie have a waterfall.
They basicaly walk.
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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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5
xlt3000Jan 28, 2020
Has some good moments, but overall overrated.
It's not really interesting watching two men run all over the battlefield, surviving when they really shouldn't, and portraying the enemy in the typical way they are portrayed in the past 60 years
Has some good moments, but overall overrated.
It's not really interesting watching two men run all over the battlefield, surviving when they really shouldn't, and portraying the enemy in the typical way they are portrayed in the past 60 years (automatons that can't shoot straight, are evil, and drop dead when the hero shoots at them once). If you're looking for a gritty realistic WW1 film, this isn't it.
And it's a bloody shame, because the director obviously was aware of how to create great war cinematography. The large scale assaults are great to look at. If only the film had been more of a classic realistic war film with such scenes, rather than a largely boring film of a single man running through Germans in enemy held territory like James Bond.
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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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5
neeeeeeiinFeb 9, 2020
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The most overrated movie of the year-by a country mile. As somebody who studied WWI at school and the horrors of trench warfare and the Battle of the Somme, I was really looking forward to watching this since a lot of people had described it as the most visceral War Movie to come out in years. What I got instead was a pretty juvenile, sanitized Disney Park Ride version of World War 1. Now before I get into my issues with the film I'd like to address the big elephant of the room that's dominated the conversation surrounding this movie-the one shot gimmick. A lot of hubbub has been made whether it's a pointless stylistic, show offey gimmick or a genuinely effective and immersive directorial choice. Overall, I think it works fine and doesn't distract me too much from the film, mainly because it doesn't feel like one take since the editing tricks they used to disguise the cuts were pretty obvious and can be easily recreated with a cheap DSLR and a bit of editing on Premiere Pro. Deakins does an excellent job as always with his stylized naturalism, and the level of planning and craftsmanship is exceptional. The direction of all the extras in the background make the trenches feel alive and claustrophobic. On a technical level, this is a very competent film. What does take me out of the film is not the one shot take but the level of contrivance of each scenario that the main character finds themselves in. He goes from avoiding an Indiana Jones-esque booby trapped enemy camp, to nearly getting hit by a an enemy plane, to almost getting shot by an enemy sniper, to running away in a basement while getting chased by German soldiers, where he happens to find a woman with a baby (the most egregious War Film cliche ever) to jumping into a waterfall at the precisely correct moment and then washing up at the exact spot where the battalion he's searching for is. The entire film feels less like a movie and more like a gimmicky VR game. This is less a visceral cinematic War Experience that it's been billed as and more like one giant dumb Uncharted set piece with a WWI coat of paint slapped onto it. When you take away the technical wizardry out of it, the film you're left with is a very generic, cheesy, hockey written war film. Sam Mendes said this was the first original script he's ever written and it really shows. As somebody that did GCSE drama, this has every amateur workshop war scene done in class crammed into a single film. The whole subplot where he fills his canteen with milk only to give it to the woman with the baby in the basement made my eyes roll out of my skull. Mendes hires prolific British actors to play a bunch of cartoon side characters that show up for three minutes, and once they're done mouthing off their overly profane cheese ball dialogue, the film goes back to being a Naughty Dog video game movie. The writing on display here is like something from an amateur short film submitted at Sundance. People were throwing shade at Joker getting an Oscar Nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, but to me 1917 getting nominated for Best Original Screenplay is even worse.

Overall, the film is worth going to the theaters for since its set piece film-making is at it's most effective when on the big screen, but once you've experienced all of that you're left with a pretty bland, generic and forgettable war film.
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5
Dcuniverse101Feb 19, 2020
The cinematography is beautiful and the single shot visual is an amazing feat, however with this comes a long winded plot with a lot of empty unnecessary scenes which deeply affects the overall pacing of the film.
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4
ibbsteDec 26, 2019
Typically, if you're going to employ an ostentatious filmmaking device it should be to serve a story. Unfortunately, in 1917, the story is completely perfunctory in the service of a gimmick that got old after Hitchcock already perfected it inTypically, if you're going to employ an ostentatious filmmaking device it should be to serve a story. Unfortunately, in 1917, the story is completely perfunctory in the service of a gimmick that got old after Hitchcock already perfected it in Rope. Deakins' consistency in tracking is impressive, I suppose, and there are some interesting images, but it is far from being one of the more interesting photographic achievements in film this year, and it really did feel like watching friends playing a video game right down to adjusting angles/perspectives and the occasionally random side characters say throwaway lines and breaks where you hear some random superior officer give expository dialogue directing the player on where they should be headed next.

As a history buff, I do think there's a valuable opportunity to present a proper World War I film to audiences who otherwise know very little about the context that led to the second World War, of which the marketplace is saturated with by comparison. There were some details that give context to the event, but it does little to nothing to offer audiences a substantive idea of the true horrors of the war other than the occasionally panning to a decomposing body part or blunt exposition in a speaking manner that no soldier of the time would speak like. The characters were supposed to show camaraderie but acted like any display of affection or sympathy for one another would have come with a fear of a contemporary "no homo" from their fellow soldiers (by comparison, see 1927's "Wings" where the men practically make out with each other in the end). Your friend is dying and not even a hug or kiss on the forehead before leaving him? You meet someone coming to terms with profound loss and a simple handshake suffices? Men in that time were not that self-conscious.

The climax of the film is the only sequence of the film I felt was truly gripping and felt any real stakes, until it goes right back into Saving Private Richard Madden at the end. Is the story *at all* interesting? No. Is it well made? Not particularly, unless a "well made" film is divorced from any sense of purpose or meaning to filming something logistically challenging! Sadly I thought this film was rather silly and a profoundly missed opportunity.
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3 of 13 users found this helpful310
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4
GinaKJan 17, 2020
A very long, very dull, more or less competent war movie. The only reason I made it through was the acting, which was believable if a bit naive in style and often bordered on the sentimental. Anyone who manages to sit through this movieA very long, very dull, more or less competent war movie. The only reason I made it through was the acting, which was believable if a bit naive in style and often bordered on the sentimental. Anyone who manages to sit through this movie deserves an Academy Award more than the director. Expand
2 of 4 users found this helpful22
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