1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

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Never Cursed
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#26 Post by Never Cursed » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:05 pm



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domino harvey
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#28 Post by domino harvey » Sun Nov 24, 2019 1:23 am

First screening tonight and based on reactions, it seems this is a last minute spoiler for this year’s Oscar race. A lot of pundits basically saying the cinematography race is over, at minimum

Also, unbelievably, this apparently only started shooting in April of this year

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#29 Post by TwoTecs » Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:52 am

domino harvey wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 1:23 am
First screening tonight and based on reactions, it seems this is a last minute spoiler for this year’s Oscar race. A lot of pundits basically saying the cinematography race is over, at minimum

Also, unbelievably, this apparently only started shooting in April of this year
The long takes probably made the editing very simple.

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Never Cursed
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#30 Post by Never Cursed » Sun Nov 24, 2019 12:28 pm

Good for Deakins in securing two almost back-to-back Oscars after thirteen noms.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#31 Post by Cremildo » Sun Nov 24, 2019 12:52 pm

Lots of praise for Thomas Newman's score as well. I was going to quip that he's the Roger Deakins of the composers, Oscar-wise, having failed to win it over 10 times, but fortunately the analogy doesn't apply anymore.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#32 Post by jazzo » Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:55 am

Maybe, just maybe, this will be the first Sam Mendes film I actually enjoy.

Somehow, I doubt it, though.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#33 Post by dvining » Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:56 pm

The long takes probably made the editing very simple.
There must be very little in terms of CGI. I assume that there was a whole lot done practically.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#34 Post by Nasir007 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:54 pm

dvining wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:56 pm
The long takes probably made the editing very simple.
There must be very little in terms of CGI. I assume that there was a whole lot done practically.
The CGI is required at the very least to stitch takes together to make it all seem like a single take. CGI would also be needed to make sure everything is matched between the two takes being stitched together and that the lighting is adjusted and the positions of anything that might have changed etc. etc. So CGI would definitely be needed even with the long takes just due to the format of the movie.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#35 Post by dvining » Mon Nov 25, 2019 2:07 pm

There must be very little in terms of CGI. I assume that there was a whole lot done practically.
The CGI is required at the very least to stitch takes together to make it all seem like a single take. CGI would also be needed to make sure everything is matched between the two takes being stitched together and that the lighting is adjusted and the positions of anything that might have changed etc. etc. So CGI would definitely be needed even with the long takes just due to the format of the movie.
Sure, but there's a difference between that level of work and creating armies, planes, and environments from pixels.

The efficiency of the post-production process tells me that it's not stuff that's going to require a lot of time.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#36 Post by Nasir007 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 2:40 pm

For sure. The turn around time on this is commendable. Maybe credit to the depth of their prep during pre-production. So that all they had to do during filming was shoot the actual footage and drop it all into place and that was that.

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Finch
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#37 Post by Finch » Mon Nov 25, 2019 8:45 pm

I'm nitpicking but reviewers calling it a one-take film annoys me as much as Lion King 2019 being called live-action. I know "the illusion of one take" isn't as snappy a shorthand as just calling it a one-take film but the former is more accurate. Mendes himself says in the Deadline interview they had to redo scenes.

Anyone know if Russian Ark was a true single take film or if they hid some edits through CGI as well?

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domino harvey
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#38 Post by domino harvey » Mon Nov 25, 2019 8:58 pm

I’m pretty sure that one was actually one take, and was done on their last chance to run through it again because it was starting to get dark. Though I imagine like with the True Detective one shot sequence, they filmed with an eye to possible seams in case they weren’t able to pull it off in the scheduled time

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#39 Post by bad future » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:27 am

I just saw it at a surprise public advance screening in Memphis (I understand they had them in other cities as well), which was the last thing I expected given that it hadn't screened for anyone until so recently. It was announced online just earlier in the day, at least here in Memphis.

It was.. cool? Spoiler tags just in case, though I don't get into plot or anything
SpoilerShow
I never felt that it transcended the action-y stakes to speak to anything greater, but there are some memorable bits that are all Deakins and Newman crescendo, and some nice still moments in between. Definitely some camera moves that made me go "ooooo, how'd they do that" and not just because of the faux-continuous gimmick (though hidden edits probably contribute to that feeling of "the camera that just did THAT is doing THIS now?") I'm really not sure how the gimmick served the tone or themes, especially with some liberties they take with it.. kind of feels like an attention-grabbing end unto itself. I kept thinking of the locked-off perspective of Lásló Nemes' Sunset from earlier this year (somehow still haven't seen Son of Saul)... this was certainly more fun, more technically impressive and less maddening to watch, but I admire Sunset more, as its form actually seemed to serve a purpose and it felt more concerned with the world beyond the edges of its plot; though I admit that involves it being every bit as obvious about itself as 1917 feels shallow. I will say (ACTUAL SPOILER MAYBE?) it was a great move casting big stars for brief, tiny appearances here -- makes it feel like a lot of other bigger WWI movies that this 'underdog' is just passing through.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#40 Post by Nasir007 » Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:56 pm

Chances are this movie has well and truly been spoiled for you already - by the film-makers themselves.
Trailer 1 - August 1
Trailer 2 - October 3
Trailer 3 - December 18
If you have seen more than one trailer for this film, you have already seen the most memorable images from this film. Literally the climax of the movie - such as it is - is shown in every single one of these trailers.

The other argument I can make after seeing the film is - there literally is nothing to spoil in the movie at all. It is exactly what it says on the tin. It plays out exactly like you think it will. You can point of miles ahead how each scene will play out. There are no surprises. There is no dialog so to speak of. There isn't really a 'story' as such. It is essentially an obstacle course of a movie. A mission is granted - that you see in the trailer - go deliver this message. There are obstacles. It plays like a first person shooter game essentially with the scrolling single shot conceit - go here, go there, jump over barrier etc. etc. and so on. I can't say there was much tension either.

And for what it is, the movie is worth watching to at least experience the context of it all and revel in some good technical film-making if that is your interest. Otherwise, this movie is like I said, exactly what you think it is.

--

Regarding the real time single shot conceit - the movie is NOT in real time and it is indeed NOT a single shot.

I was right to raise this concern -
Nasir007 wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:59 pm
I see night shots and day shots. There isn't a 2 hour stretch where you would go from full light to full dark. You could go from full light to dusk or dusk to full night.
There is indeed a cut as has been said by Mendes in numerous interviews. That cut essentially time jumps for I would think 10 maybe 12 hours.
There is also 1 deliberate continuity error according to me where the film goes from a dark blue pre-dawn sky to a very light noon-ish kinda sky in a matter of minutes. This was an artistic choice I am sure otherwise they wouldn't have the light they needed for some scenes.

I think besides this 1 cut and 1 continuity error, the real time single shot conceit is done well and executed seamlessly. I don't know if it was necessary but I think it definitely lends the movie a nice asset - its simplicity. This is narratively a very humble film. It is spare in incident. I will give it credit for lucidity. I remember the exact sequence of events in the film exactly because there aren't that many events and the events are clearly delineated. There isn't much characterization either. The conceit doesn't allow for that. There isn't much dialog either like I said.

There is a single sequence which when I saw it straight away knew Deakins has his oscar all packed up - all other contenders can go away home right now. It is that good a sequence. It is outrageously showy, and outrageously good. I will call it the Night Window sequence because that is the name of the music cue that Thomas Newman writes to accompany that sequence and if Newman wins an Oscar, he will win it for that single sequence too. The music unhindered by dialog or loud SFX bursts forth from the speakers and the memorable images combine with the music to make the music memorable too and it becomes an indelible sequence. This sequence is worth the price of admission alone. I'd argue Deakins earns his paycheck for this sequence. Rest of the movie is your usual Spielberg-Kaminski war movie aesthetic that we last saw in War Horse.

All-in-all a nice enough experience. I am hesitant to recommend it too strongly. This is not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. And there aren't any grand themes to speak of or anything. The film-making is good but not blow your socks off good like say Gravity for example. The movie is an experiential thing mostly and some sequences from Deakins are indeed beautiful. I'd imagine this could be a thoroughly pedestrian movie on the small screen. Good acting and good writing translate to any screen size, good visuals do not. And this movie only excels in the latter department.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#41 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 9:39 am

Cremildo wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 12:52 pm
Lots of praise for Thomas Newman's score as well. I was going to quip that he's the Roger Deakins of the composers, Oscar-wise, having failed to win it over 10 times, but fortunately the analogy doesn't apply anymore.
Newman and Mendes (and Deakins too in a way since they both were on and did incredible work on The Shawshank Redemption, predating Mendes' start as a director) are the modern equivalent of Spielberg/Williams and other long-lasting director-composer relationships to me. Even on the Bond movies where Newman is working in a genre he's not necessarily attached to the chemistry is still apparent.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#42 Post by Luke M » Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:30 pm

I saw this today and thought it was a miss. The long take is more gimmick than effective. The score was fine but sorta blared on the soundtrack inappropriately (think Spielberg.) Whatever tension was attempted mostly didn't work. There are a few scenes however that are successful. But on the whole, this didn't work for me. Some of the decisions left me scratching my head.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#43 Post by Finch » Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:37 pm

Walter Chaw pans the film and compares it unfavourably to Gallipoli.
It seems to speak to a certain Arthurian certitude that, yes, should there be trouble arising again, there will always be heroes in repose just waiting to be stirred into heroic, redemptive action. But heroism is meaningless in affairs of war, isn't it? And redemptive of what, exactly? There's a mid-film intimation by grizzled Captain Smith (Mark Strong) that maybe when the message gets to where it needs to go, the Colonel will be so blood-thirsty it won't stop him anyway. Boy, that would've made for an interesting movie, wouldn't it? It wouldn't be awesome! anymore, however. In fact, it would be a bit of a downer. And it would have been about something, meaning wet blankets like me would sit in our luxury basement talking on and on about how we should stop doing stuff like WWI instead of just connecting the essential emptiness of this film with the war that coward and draft-dodger Trump is trying to start in Iran as a distraction and a re-election campaign stunt. Making a hollow spectacle of war is ignoble. Sometimes it's dangerously irresponsible. Anyway, 1917. You won't believe how fucking cool it is.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#44 Post by lzx » Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:09 pm

His entire review is pure gold, and I say this as someone who actually enjoyed the film (as pure spectacle, no more)
Anyway, Sam Mendes's 1917 is awesome! So cool. Like, really fucking cool. You won't believe how cool it is. . . . It's all done in, like, two long takes, or at least it's rigged in such a way as to look like it's all done in a couple of long takes. Hitchcock did something similar with Rope back in 1948. That one unfolded on a single, contained set and was something of a fanciful telling of the Leopold & Loeb case. Well, let me tell you, gentle reader, that 1917 absolutely eats Rope's lunch. I mean, a single set? Fuck you, Alfred Hitchcock. Try the whole goddamn Western Front. . . . Cinematographer Roger Deakins is a genius. He shot a bunch of Coen Brothers movies and Skyfall for Mendes. There's this one part at night where fires and occasional flares provide the only lighting for a badass set that's all ruins, like in a "Call of Duty" game. Just like, in fact. Just like.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#45 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:22 pm

The trailer made this look very much like a video game.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#46 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:58 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:22 pm
The trailer made this look very much like a video game.
Video games by and large aspire to be cinematic, these days especially, so this distinction is becoming less meaningful over time, I think. Or at least, any similarity says more about the state of video games than movies.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#47 Post by Luke M » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:59 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Michael Kerpan wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:22 pm
The trailer made this look very much like a video game.
Video games by and large aspire to be cinematic, these days especially, so this distinction is becoming less meaningful over time, I think. Or at least, any similarity says more about the state of video games than movies.
I think this can feel like a video game on account of the camera work. It's not first person like a Call of Duty or Battlefield game but the camera does a good job of putting the audience in the scene. In that sense, it is more like a game than most movies.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#48 Post by Nasir007 » Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:01 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:22 pm
The trailer made this look very much like a video game.
I made that observation too above when I said "It plays like a first person shooter game essentially with the scrolling single shot conceit."

I think because it has largely unimaginative blocking - save for a few sequences. It is basically a Steadicam following your actor and you see the back of their head. And couple with the fact that the character is actually a soldier with their gun raised, the net effect is definitely video-gamey first person shooter - quite literally.

People cream themselves about Deakins but like I said, apart from one standout sequence - it is your typical war movie aesthetic.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#49 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Jan 11, 2020 6:15 am

Nasir007 wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:01 am
Michael Kerpan wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:22 pm
The trailer made this look very much like a video game.
I made that observation too above when I said "It plays like a first person shooter game essentially with the scrolling single shot conceit."

I think because it has largely unimaginative blocking - save for a few sequences. It is basically a Steadicam following your actor and you see the back of their head. And couple with the fact that the character is actually a soldier with their gun raised, the net effect is definitely video-gamey first person shooter - quite literally.

People cream themselves about Deakins but like I said, apart from one standout sequence - it is your typical war movie aesthetic.
Sorry to be pedantic, but wouldn't that make it a third-person shooter?

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#50 Post by MichaelB » Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:34 am

domino harvey wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 8:58 pm
I’m pretty sure that one was actually one take, and was done on their last chance to run through it again because it was starting to get dark.
That was definitely one take, and Steadicam operator Tilman Büttner was apparently in absolute agony by the end - but he didn't want to be the single person responsible for fucking up what would most likely be their only opportunity to get it right (as you say, there was no chance for a further retake, and no possibility of booking the Hermitage again), so he soldiered on through the pain.

And the comments about 1917 being more thrill-ride than involving narrative drama inspired me to check to see if it was playing in 4DX (reasonably) locally - and it was! So my entire family's seeing it on Wednesday in what I imagine will be perfect viewing conditions.

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