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Discussion in 'Movies' started by Reggie W, Aug 1, 2019.
Is the Toronto run at the Scotiabank theater?
Yonge & Dundas
My understanding is that the IMAX screen there is not actual IMAX, but it's still decent. Will be sure to go see it there...thanks!
Just saw it. My review:
Sam Mendes' WWI epic is impossible to discuss without mentioning it's technique. Produced in a manner which makes it seem like one continuous take one help but consider it on both an artistic and a technical level.
The story (based on tales Mendes' own Grandfather told) is direct and simple. Two British soldiers Lance Corporals Blake (Dean Charles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay) are dispatched on a mission across German lines in France to deliver an urgent message to another Battalion. And, that's about the entire 'plot'. Of course, there are many dangers and perils along the way, but, the screenplay (written by Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns) is boiled down to the basics here. What tension and excitement in the movie is brought about by the Production and the fine performances by the leads and supporting cast including Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch. But, even the smallest roles are accomplished within the strictures of the format. Mendes stages the action scenes well, the Production Design (Dennis Gassner) and Costumes (David Crossman and Jacqueline Durran) and Thomas Newman's score are all extremely well done.
But, it is Roger Deakins' cinematography which is the crux of the matter. What Deakins and his crew (including Steadicam operator Pete Cavaciuti) have accomplished is at times astonishing, not just in producing the effect of a fluid single shot, but, it terms of co-ordination of the framing, lighting and staging (due credit to Assistant Directors, of course). There are cuts, of course. And, CGI makes transitions and hidden editing much easier than in 1948 when Alfred Hitchcock made his “no edit” film, ROPE. Still, with the exception of the obvious blackout scene and one or two slightly wobbly CGI frames, it all works.
The questions are: A. Is it effective? B. Is it the best way to tell this tale?
In 1917, the single-shot gives the movie a verisimilitude. It does give much of it a 'you are there' feel. You can practically smell the muck and grime and have a sense of the dangers lurking just around the corner or out in the dark beyond. Without the usual editing, the transitions between scenes virtually disappear. There is no 'break' in the action. It is relentless. Still, once the pair of soldiers begin to interact with others (sometimes one on one, others in small and large groups), the technique reveals its short-comings. Why aren't we seeing the other characters' perspective? Why not have closer and wider angles to give the viewer a better understanding of place and purpose? The sense that this is, if not a gimmick, but, a dogged determination to stick with the technique above all other considerations. There is no question that 1917 is an intense experience, but other than the finale, the sense of purpose seems secondary to the chase. The Oscar winning SON OF SAUL (2016) used a similar first person style to tell it's holocaust tale, but one felt it was in service of telling the title character's journey. Christopher Nolan's DUNKIRK (2017) also utilized a heavily structured editing discipline (albeit a trickier triple level one), but, there one felt one got a wider appreciation of larger events. As up close to Schofield and Blake as we are throughout 1917 one can't help that there was a deeper connection to the soldiers in Peter Jackson's fine WWI Documentary from the previous year (THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD), even considering that we sometimes spend only a few moments or hear only a few bits of narration from those soldiers.
1917 is a very fine movie. But, it is a great technical achievement, more so than it is a great film.
I think the answer is obvious. Mendes wanted to tell an extremely personal story and deviating from his plan as you suggest would have detracted from the story he wanted to tell.
I think it’s both.
That's fine, but, it's a legit critique and not patently "obvious" (other films that use this technique have managed to). We just disagree. And, that's legit, too.
As great and interesting as Peter Jackson’s film was, I felt a much deeper connection to the two soldiers in 1917 than I did to the smiling faces of the soldiers fascinated with a film camera in TSNGO.
Of course I meant it was obvious to me. And it’s a legit critique to you of course. Just not to me.
By the way Joe, even though I disagree with some of it, that’s a very well written review.
Can a mod edit the first post to reflect the artwork?
Appreciate that. Too often folks go overboard ripping a review just because they disagree with the bottom line.
Will ‘1917’ Get Box Office Boost After Golden Globes Wins?
Sam Mendes’ “1917,” a war epic that unspools to look like one continuous shot, was a surprise winner at the Golden Globes Sunday night, taking home trophies for best motion picture drama and best director for Mendes.
That could prove to be a welcome injection of publicity as Universal expands the film to more than 3,000 theaters this weekend. The morning following the telecast, Fandango reported there was an immediate boost in ticket sales, noting “1917” was selling five times as many tickets as it did the prior weekend. (Granted, it was only open in 11 locations at the time.)
When “1917” does open nationwide, the film should bring in a respectable haul between $20 million and $25 million. But to justify its $90 million budget, the critical darling will have to sustain momentum throughout awards season, where it’s expected to be a big Oscar contender. After debuting in limited release on Christmas day, “1917” pulled in a tidy $2.28 million sum.
Awards season notoriety helped Universal’s “Green Book” steer its way to $321 million worldwide after scoring the Oscar for best picture. However, Academy love doesn’t always translate into commercial appeal. “1917” follows young British soldiers (George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) tasked with the dangerous mission of delivering a message that could save hundreds of lives.
more at https://variety.com/2020/film/news/box-office-1917-movie-1203459952/
My local theater appears to believe it will do well because they're putting it on three screens simultaneously, including the largest auditorium that is not premium-priced. (Star Wars still has the XD room pr Disney's four-week requirement for that.)
Saw 1917 last night and very very much love it. Aside from the technical achievement of the single shot look (half of my brain was watching for cut moments through the movie), it tells an emotional and engaging story on a very small scale. There are moments I didn't believe could actually happen in the film and gutted me. This is the first movie in a long time which made me tense up and legit worry about the characters we see in each scene. George MacKay is simply extraordinary.
One of my two favorite movies from 2019.
"1917" will win Best Picture and Best Director, and most likely Best Cinematography at this year's Oscars. I have spoken.
I saw it in Dolby Cinema last night, and I think it's a fantastic film. The Atmos sound was amazing. It wouldn't be my #1 (Parasite is still my favorite) but it would be up there.
Yes, saw it last night and I agree. Mendes should be a lock for best director as the difficulty level of what he creates here I believe easily surpasses other achievements in directing this year...maybe by a mile. It's an exciting and riveting piece of pure cinema. Also the photography here is brilliant. Deakins is masterful and he should also be a lock to win. This had to be long in the planning stages and to pull it off as seamlessly as he does was astounding.
As far as Best Picture...well...I would give it that as I do believe this was an amazing film and yes, I think probably my favorite film from 2019.
Its playing in Imax at several theaters in Southern California.
Making a 'one-shot' masterpiece:
Amblin/Universal’s 1917 is off to a fantastic start with a Friday in the $12 million-$13 million range and a three-day total of between $32M-$34.6M. That opening exceeds the January wide start of Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down ($28.6M) and is just shy of Universal’s Mark Wahlberg Taliban hunt movie Lone Survivor ($37.8M).