I suspect I may have blogged about this before (what do I know?) but I don’t think there’s anything to compare with 1917 for conveying the reality of the First World War. It’s said to have been filmed in one shot (actually it’s four or five shots cut together and I was treated to OH and son playing ‘spot the cut’ throughout.) But that didn’t spoil my enjoyment.

Like most films it’s better seen at the cinema, which we did when it came out, but viewing at home on a massive 4G TV comes a close second (don’t blame me, it’s the son’s TV. ) It’s hard to describe the hypnotic quality of this film. Most war films are noisy, lots of booming guns and shouting, but much of this is eerily silent. Two soldiers are sent on a mission to stop a planned attack scheduled for dawn the next day as new intel shows they’ll be walking into an ambush. Cynically they send a man whose brother is in the planned attack and he chooses a friend to go with him without knowing what he’s letting his friend in for.

Much of the action takes place in no-man’s-land as they negotiate mud, landslides, tank traps and corpses. In one of the most dramatic scenes they watch a dog fight in the air, the German plane falls and they run towards it only to see it rise from behind a dip and hurtle towards them. They scramble to safety but the plane is burning so they run to free the pilot who rewards them by shooting the first soldier. How his friend gets through, being shot at as he runs through a surreal bombed village, takes shelter with a woman and baby and then half-swims, half-drowns in the river, how he reaches the front line, how many obstacles remain before he can find the Captain and deliver the message, how he finally manages to stop the attack (given no thanks for his pains except by one kind officer) forms the rest of this utterly hypnotic story. Some images will stay with me forever.

Kirk out