1917 ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Sam Mendes' 1917 is - by all rights - a masterpiece. It is spectacular in all the ways you might expect from a movie about World War I. It is spectacular thanks to the incredible cinematography. It is tense and suspenseful thanks to the score (and the acting, and the directing). It is absolutely awesome in all of its single-shot glory (although it's not hard to identify where the cuts probably are, and even see a few).

And yet...

I liked this movie, I really, really did. But it lacked something deeply emotional for me. I never felt anything more than racked nerves. Yes, tense anxiety is the bread and butter of a war movie, especially one with stakes set as perilously high as those in 1917. But... I wanted to feel something for the characters. Even at the pivotal moment when the plane crashes, I barely felt a pang of sadness. At that moment I was wondering how they had the actor's face go from ruddy red to ashy white without digital effects (it was probably digital effects). This should not have been what I was thinking about, and yet I was. I didn't laugh (although I don't hold that against this particular film), I didn't cry. For the most part I felt a low level anxiety.

1917 is without question a very, very good film filled with good acting, great cinematography, good lighting, good effects, good editing, and everything else you can think of. I just wish it also had a soul.