Audiences privileged to see “1917” on Saturday in New York are going bananas for Sam Mendes’ WWI epic, shot by director of photography Roger Deakins to mimic a one-take descent into hell on the battlefield. The movie doesn’t release theatrically until Christmas Day, but prospects are looking good for DreamWorks and Universal Pictures’ ambitious tale of a pair of British soldiers (George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) as they race against time (and across enemy lines) to deliver a key message.
The movie is written by Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns. IndieWire has rounded up first reactions via Twitter below. Based on the initial takes, this looks to be a huge Oscar contender despite breaking so late in the race.
1917 is quite a thing. Always intense, often horrific (at times it feels like watching an actual horror movie). I was skeptical of the “one continuous shot” aspect — worried it would get too cute with it — but it really works for this story, putting us right there in this hell
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) November 23, 2019
1917 = OUTSTANDING. A WWI-epic bursting w/ a depth of heart and emotion unprecedented in the genre. Stunning sequence after stunning sequence. Mckay’s remarkable. So immersed you forget what’s unraveling’s done in 1-take. Viscerally audacious filmmaking to end 2019 on a high note
— Jason (@jasonosia) November 23, 2019
1917 is THE technical achievement of 2019. We’re with these men through every footstep & it’s unlike any war film you’ve ever seen before. Epic & tense direction by Sam Mendes, emotional & exhilarating music from Thomas Newman & an all timer from cinematographer Roger Deakins. pic.twitter.com/L0C7hKxR6C
— Matt Neglia (@NextBestPicture) November 23, 2019
#1917 is a tremendous piece of filmmaking. Bold in its storytelling, masterful in its execution- it’s thrilling & emotional & I could not take my eyes off the screen from the second it began to the second it ended. The very definition of a film you MUST see on the big screen. Wow pic.twitter.com/KNO7Rp92TG
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) November 23, 2019
Aaannnndddd that’s your frontrunner!
‘1917’ is the best war film since SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. The cinematography of the year. The cinematography of the decade. Thomas Newman’s orchestral masterpiece. Sam Mendes gift to cinema…and his family. Every ounce is powerful.#1917Movie pic.twitter.com/EiwCTthAX3
— Clayton Davis (@AwardsCircuit) November 23, 2019
1917: The most successful example of a film presented entirely as one long take (with whatever invisible editing cheats make that possible) since… ROPE? Emotionally immersive in a way the same techniques in GRAVITY and BIRDMAN never were for me.
— Christian Blauvelt (@ctblauvelt) November 23, 2019
Sam Mendes invented a new form of filmmaking with his Great Picture about The Great War that with one simple story tells of the physical brutality of a conflict that cinema had mostly forgotten. 2nd Oscar almost guaranteed for Deakins #1917Movie #Oscars @1917
— J Don Birnam (@jdonbirnam) November 23, 2019
1917 is stunning! The camera never leaves the characters making for a visceral experience. The performances by George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman are excellent and the score is one of Thomas Newman’s best. See it in the biggest, loudest theater you can. #1917Movie pic.twitter.com/YfuayAeUee
— Ezra Cubero (See Knives Out!) (@EzraCubero) November 23, 2019
1917: I feel like I’ve just been pummeled in the chest for two hours. The crafts are out of this world, performances are strong, and Mendes’s direction maybe the best it’s ever been. Thomas Newman’s score + Roger Deakins’s cinematography = an experience you’ll never forget.
— Dancin Dan on Film (@dancindanonfilm) November 23, 2019
Sam Mendes delivers an emotional and powerful film with #1917. A combo of Saving Private Ryan and The Revenant if u may, bold storytelling and an amazing performance by George MacKay. Great cinematography by Roger Deakins and excellent score by Thomas Newman. Simply phenomenal. pic.twitter.com/xyE9CQa3sH
— Wilson Morales (@blackfilm) November 23, 2019
#1917: George MacKay, already a legend. Roger Deakins, always a legend.
— Kate Erbland (@katerbland) November 23, 2019