Take To The Trenches
As war rages on the Western Front, two brave men risk their own lives in order to save over a thousand more in an epic one-shot thriller. This is 1917.
Words Robb Sheppard
Skyfall director Sam Mendes honours those who served in World War I by setting out to craft the most immersive experience ever attempted on film. With extensive research completed at the Imperial War Museum London and inspired in part by conversations with his grandfather Alfred H Mendes, who served during the war and fought in the Battle of the Somme, Mendes plants the audience fully within the narrative with a boots on the ground thriller.
Marking Mendes’s first film in the director’s seat since Spectre, 1917 follows two soldiers who are tasked with delivering a warning to their comrades who are about to march into a trap. It's follow that's the operative word as the action occurs in one continuous take, planting you right in the middle of the conflict from start to finish. Trudge every trench in real-time as you accompany our heroes through the battlefield and beyond enemy lines.
After earning his long-deserved Oscar for Blade Runner 2049’s stunning visuals, legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins follows Mendes into the fray as the only man capable of capturing such ambitious and original storytelling. Bolstered by a best of British supporting cast - Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Mark Strong, and Daniel Mays - 1917 has all the makings of a complete picture, a true war spectacle that’s stormed into the awards season as a late and serious contender.
Take That! Our Favourite One-Shot Wonders
The thirteen-minute introduction to Brian De Palma’s 1998 crime thriller is a filmmaking masterclass: invisible cuts, character development, and clues to an assassination at a high-stakes boxing match. What’s more, Nicolas Cage achieves peak-Cage in his first ten seconds onscreen.
Arguably the most famous long take, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) guides us through the Copacabana club. From jumping queues, through the kitchen kerfuffle, to finally sitting at the front of the stage, Scorsese leaves us as spellbound as Lorraine Bracco’s Karen.
This tracking shot follows the escaped protagonist Dae-su Oh as he fights his way through innumerable henchmen in a bid to uncover his former captors. Momentum ebbs and flows, exhaustion sets in and the fight feels more chaotic than choreographed.