1917
2019
****½
Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch

During the First World War, Lance Corporals Blake and Schofield are tasked to cross no man’s land and deliver a message which could save 1,600 men from certain death. Like Christopher Nolan’s recent Dunkirk, this is a riveting war-set thriller rather than a thoughtful drama about war itself. Sam Mendes goes for the spectacle, sometimes at the expense of credibility. However, he delivers a truly cinematic experience. Roger Deakins’ stunningly choreographed cinematography creates an illusion that the entire film is comprised of two long and continuous takes, which in this case turns out to be an incredibly immersive storytelling technique. The special effects blend in seamlessly and Thomas Newman’s excellent score adds an icing on the cake. Mendes co-wrote the script, which is partly based on a true story recited by his grandfather Alfred Mendes. Academy Award winner for best cinematography, sound mixing, and visual effects.