violet’s review published on Letterboxd:
The lies I tell myself: I’ve seen this before, I know how the score goes, I probably won’t cry.
Such egregious lies.
This movie devastated me on first viewing and it continues to devastate me. I have no amount of stars to give that will feel sufficient. On every level possible, it is exceptional. I have looked for flaws but couldn’t find any. Sam Mendes brought humanity into the war film, and no film like it will ever happen again. I’ve never been in the trenches, and I most sincerely hope that never changes for myself (or anyone reading this), but here, watching this, I’ve felt the heart stopping fear and anxiety that I imagine the men in the film, as well as the very real men who lost their lives in this senseless act we call war must have felt. As with Jarhead, Mendes never glorifies war, or the notions of honour and bravery some mistakenly attach to it (see: the “It’s just a piece of tin” scene). Instead, he shows what an existential hell living under war is for all sides, civilian and soldier alike. Roger Deakins’ cinematography is a delight for the eyes in every shot, every second of frame, and Thomas Newman’s score is heart rending. Every supporting actor pulls their weight in scenes seemingly tailored for them (ANDREW SCOTT I LOVE YOU HAVE MY BABIES), and it’s a shame George MacKay never got a best actor nom. I expect there’ll be one for him somewhere in the future.