I forgot just how powerful one story can be.
Hollywood is known for filtering out the boring bits. Most of the biggest box-office hits of the last few years have been overloaded with content, stuffed full of as much action and people and plots as they can fit.
That's why director Sam Mendes' "1917" feels so unusual.
From the moment the lights dim in the theater to the moment credits roll, our eyes are on Lance Corporal Will Schofield (George MacKay). Dragged into what seems like a suicide mission in World War I, Will and his buddy Lance Corporal Tom Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) find themselves tasked with running across a war zone to call off an attack to avoid a slaughter, one that threatens to claim the life of Tom's older brother.
There are no cuts to skip ahead to the next big moment. No switching to see what someone else is up to. It's one story told from beginning to end, and we never miss a single step.
It's refreshingly pure, uncomplicated and sincere, while still leaving you white-knuckled, gripping your armrests as crisis after crisis unfolds.
With each heart-racing moment of peril and each rare moment of quiet, you count the time we have left before it all was for nothing. And because you're experiencing so much of the movie in real-time, you know just how severely each hurdle has set us back.
Whereas "Dunkirk" (2017) gave us a beautifully woven trio of stories that intermingle as we barrel toward the moment the stories converge, "1917" reveals the uncommon beauty of one story told in one arc.
I give a clean 10 out of 10 canteens of milk.
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