1917. 2019. USA/UK. Directed by Sam Mendes. Screenplay by Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns. With Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Andrew Scott. 119 min.
Lance corporals Blake and Schofield are roused from a countryside nap during a respite from their battalion’s engagement in WWI. The young soldiers are tasked with crossing into enemy lines to warn the British regiments ahead that they are being lured into a German trap. As Blake and Schofield rise out of the rural landscape, file through deep foxholes, and climb a hill to observe nothing but annihilation, rotting bodies, and unnatural quiet, they finally realize the impending peril of their mission. Cinematographer Roger Deakins embraces the diverse topographies with deep, wide frames and prolonged takes, offering the viewer the same visual experiences as the soldiers. Like The Big Parade (1925) and All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), 1917 is destined to become an iconic WWI film. Courtesy Universal Pictures.