Why is ‘1917’ such a successful movie?

March 5, 2020

You have most probably heard of ‘1917’, a World War I movie based on two soldiers’ dangerous journey to prohibit an army battalion from falling into a trap which would lead to a massacre. Sam Mendes, the director, is no stranger to creating suspense: he is responsible for the last two James Bond movies and Jarhead.There are many famous war movies, most notably ‘Saving Private Ryan’, ‘Apocalypse Now’ and ‘Dunkirk’ but ‘1917’ is nothing like you have seen before.


It is directed in manner that makes the movie seem as though it was filmed in one shot and in real time, which creates a feeling of suspense never felt before in cinema. This is not the first time that Mendes has created a feeling of suspense using long shots: evident in Spectre’s opening scene during the Dias De Los Muertos parade. However, he has brought this to a whole new level with ‘1917’. As viewers, we are brought right into the movie, and feel connected not only to the characters but also to their emotions. Whilst the movie itself lasts two hours, we experience a connection with the characters which is not often felt in cinema.


 Not only is the skill of the director a work of art in this movie, the cinematography is breathtaking to look at and depicts the contrast between a war torn and a peaceful, beautiful European countryside.  There is no surprise that this movie won best cinematography at the Oscars; it is a fascinating movie to watch which shows a new style of movie making in an extraordinary fashion. 


It is not only different from other war or action movies from a cinematography standpoint. Mendes is very good at creating tension in his movies by creating a long build up till action occurs, most famously done in ‘Jarhead’ which never reaches the climax. Thankfully ‘1917’ does break the tension multiple times throughout the movie but still achieves restless build-ups which will have you on the edge of your seat. It is not a movie which simply relies on violence and action to succeed, which feels like a recurring theme in cinema lately. It is refreshing to see a movie, which is fundamentally themed around violence not overdo it.   such as Micheal Bay movies which don’t let the audience create relationships with the characters and can only be appreciated for their practical and special effects. 


‘1917’ is a movie which will leave you breathless and emotionally drained once it is finished. It is worth watching as it is a beautiful movie which will leave you in awe. It is also worth watching for its cinematography which is simply indescribable and has created a new manner in which movies can be enjoyed. 

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