There are numerous one continuous shot movies — or, more accurately, movies that appear to be one continuous shot, like Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope and Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) — but arguably none as ambitious as 1917. Directed by Sam Mendes, the World War I-set film plays out in real time, allowing viewers to live (or die) in the same fear as soldiers Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), who must “cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers,” according to the official plot summary.
“It was fundamentally an emotional choice,” Mendes told Vanity Fair about his decision to give me an anxiety attack. “I wanted to travel every step with these men—to breathe every breath with them. It needed to be visceral and immersive. What they are asked to do is almost impossibly difficult. The way the movie is made is designed to bring you as close as possible to that experience.” What separates 1917 from, say, Birdman, is that the latter largely takes in and around a solitary location, a New York City theater; the former “moves through a huge variety of different locations,” Mendes (who also directed Skyfall and Spectre) added. “From the trenches, to No Man’s Land, to open countryside, farmland, orchards, rivers, woods, and bombed-out towns. It bears witness to the staggering destruction wrought by the war, and yet it is a fundamentally human story about two young and inexperienced soldiers racing against the clock.”
1917, which also stars Mark Strong, Andrew “Hot Priest” Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch, opens in limited release on December 25 and expands wide on January 10. Check out the video above to see how Mendes and his team, including cinematographer Roger Deakins and co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns, pulled off the incredible.
(Via Vanity Fair)