This year’s Oscar nominee, 1917 is pretty much the resurrection of Saving Private Ryan. Though not as engaging as Enemy at the Gates, 1917 successfully manages to trigger the same emotional sensation that we experienced while watching Saving Private Ryan for the first time.
For 20 years, we never witnessed the likes of Saving Private Ryan until the release of 1917. Even the 1917 official trailer was convincing enough to set high expectations. It is amazing to see how humanity somehow holds on even amidst war. The picturization of 1917 doesn’t come closer to that of Band of Brothers but still, the crew has done a tremendous job to let us feel the hostility of World War I after over 100 years. It is pretty close to what we see in Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) must-watch documentary.
The rat scene, the muddy ditch filled with decaying bodies, and the rats feeding on dead solider, the hostile river current and riverbank being the final resting place of some soldiers, everything triggers an undesired sensation and it forces us to acknowledge the sacrifices our great grandfathers made.
Watching the official trailer – They Shall Not Grow Old, you’ll easily identify the familiar face and I am pretty much sure it isn’t by chance that George MacKay resembles this guy in the pictures below.
Sam Mendes pretty much seems convinced by Spielberg’s storytelling in Saving Private Ryan. At times it feels as if both movies have merged for instance when Lance Corporal Blake tries to cheer up Lance Corporal Schofield by recalling a story while walking through the abandoned self-destroyed German weapons. This scene suddenly replays Ryan recalling an incident from his good old days with his brothers.
1917 keeps you engaged but at times, it slows down too much for a minute or two. The plane crash seems too much fabricated considering the fact that the jet on fire almost seems to chase the protagonists like a well-targeted bullet.
Whoever narrated or fabricated this incident could have made it look a bit realistic. The ease with which the German pilot is shown to have stabbed Lance Corporal Blake signifies who careless Blake was and we couldn’t expect this from a professional soldier especially when he knew he had a serious undertaking on his shoulders.
Thank God, we don’t see too much of bloodshed the likes of which we witnessed in the beech scene of Saving Private Ryan or throughout Band of Brothers. We must appreciate the use of the surprise element in 1917. The rat dropping the food pack and the gunfire just before Schofield has to jump across the drowned-slopped bridge over the canal.
What is Absurd in 1917 ?
Schofield manages to escape constant bullet fires even running through straight narrow paths and it seems too much. I mean, how many missed shots could you expect from a soldier especially when the distance is less than 30 meters. These scenes could have been improved. There could have been a better strategic movement dodging the German gunmen but who could we blame? Like fishermen, soldiers are also known for recreating tales and repeating them with such rigidity that we have to believe them, at least considering the fact that they are the only eyewitnesses.
A strange thing happens to Schofield just before he falls back a few stairs below after two gunshots, one fired by Schofield himself and the other from the injured German soldier. The scene made us believe that something threw the Lance Corporal and it resembled nothing else but a bullet strike. But when Schofield wakes up, he suffers from a head injury caused by his falling downstairs. Where did that bullet go? If it never hit him, why would he act as if he was shot, ultimately taking a head injury?
From the historical viewpoint, it seems as if the premise of 1917 has been misplaced. There is no record of runners being chosen at random in WWI. Runners were trained for this purpose and received exclusively specialized training. No matter who’s brother is there fighting upfront, the selection of runners had always been matter taken seriously. Every battalion had a communications/signals element and runners played an important role. Runners wore large armbands ‘Brassards’ to make them easy to be identified because soldiers had orders to make way for runners in order to ensure timely delivery of urgent messages. Nobody was authorized to question runners.
Why Watch 1917 ?
Despite a few blunders, 1917 is significant of exceptional technical filmmaking and the movie stands a strong chance of winning the Oscar this year. If you loved Saving Private Ryan, you are definitely going to have a great couple of hours watching 1917.