The director of American Beauty and Revolutionary Road (also behind the last two Bond films, which i simply didn’t see) is back to the war epic 25 years after it’s own Jarhead, so yeah, it’s quite understandable all the buzz and expectations surrounding it, but i gotta be honest, i wasn’t exactly hyped, since the self-explanatory title tells you right away it’s set in WWI, but still, a more interesting proposal than going back to WWII (or Vietnam) again.
Set at the zenith of WWI, the film centers on two british soldiers stationed in northern France, Schofield and Blake, tasked to deliver an order from HQ, which tells of an upcoming surprise attack planned by the retreating German army. With thousands of lives on the line, the two must race through the hostile Western Front to call off the attack, and for Blake is personal, as his brother is in the squadron they’re trying to save.
Like you’ve probably heard by now, the movie is shot in a faux one-take, as to create a seamless single and constant feed over the lonesome journey through the Western Front, to emphasizes the urgency and stakes for everyone involved, capture the atmosphere of the desolated wastelands of the trenches as the character themselves wade through the dismal sceneries and confront the realities of the conflict, despite their task being oblique and minor in the grand scheme of things.
And yes, it works beautifully, making for an intense and captivating experience that doesn’t just rely on a “trick”, as the events and characters are intriguing themselves, making for good drama that is enhanced by the amazing camerawork and directorion, as is the terrific cinematography, the movie is worth seeing on the big screen just for that. Not for Cumberbatch, as he’s barely in the movie.