1917

1917 ★★½

This isn't really the type of film I go in for. But the one shot element is intriguing and has potential to give the film a different atmosphere to a typical 'war film', or film even.

However I found that camera movement was strangely disconnected to the action. Characters would twist themselves through barbed wire, carefully step along the sides of craters - yet the camera floats glides effortlessly alongside. I had expected the camera to feel more embedded within the film, we're always a step back from the action. The one-shot stuff is impressive but I don't feel it's the best way to create that engagement between character and spectator. Conventional cinematography has that ability to be everywhere and anywhere, to see everything. Cutting from place to place, person to person whenever necessary. Not only is it a great tool for showing emotion (showing micro-expressions and gestures) but it's a great way of building emotion. A single shot of a wounded solider, followed by a single shot of another soldiers face creates a feeling that you just cannot replicate in having both in the frame at the same time.

Whilst this doesn't necessarily make the action any less impressive in either spectacle or choreography, it's emotional affect was lessened quite a bit. Although the more I think about it - the more it seems that it must have been a conscious decision to use this style of cinematography. Perhaps the film is aiming for something different entirely. It seems to be content to keep the spectators role limited to 'looking in', floating about over the action - unlike, for example, the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan in which blood and dirt cakes the lens. It's an evocative scene that captures so much horror - didn't feel like the style of 1917 was able to replicate anything close to that. But again, perhaps it's aiming for something else?

Somehow the film ended up feeling distant, I couldn't find that emotional grounding that I had hoped for.

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