In a Hollywood that has all but shunned artistic freedom for directors this past decade, it must have been hard for Sam Mendes to find the right project to satisfy his creative juices. Alas, that’s why his upcoming WWI film “1917” should be a cause for celebration. The film stars Mark Strong, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch and will have the luxury of being shot by DP extraordinaire Roger Deakins.
“1917” is also one of four major Oscar contenders left to be screened this year, alongside "The Irishman," "Bombshell” and “Little Women.” (I’m sorry, I just can’t count “Cats,” the trailer was ridiculed to no ends and even went viral online for all the wrong reasons).
Regardless, “1917” was test-screened tonight to positive reaction. In fact, an instantaneous, multiple minute applause greeted the end of the film at Wednesday night’s screening. A source that was there tells me “1917” is filled with “stunning sequence after stunning sequence,” not to mention “surprises at every turn.” It also, as was rumoured, uses magic trick editing to make it look as though it was shot in a single take by “hiding cuts through shadows, going up hills and outside blockades.”
According to another anonymous source [courtesy of Jeffrey Wells] “1917” also seems to be echoing “Saving Private Ryan” thematically and narratively, and feels like one big feature-length version of that film’s battle of normandy sequence. Wells’ source adds that despite production having completed a little more than 8 weeks ago, the print shown at the undisclosed AMC theater looks like it’s over 90 percent complete.
We might have to wait until this coming November’s AFI Film Festival before any press or industry can catch a glimpse of Mendes’ much-anticipated epic— otherwise, “1917” is scheduled to arrive in theaters on December 25th.