In the throes of the chaos of World War I, two soldiers, Shofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), are tasked with crossing enemy territory in order to deliver a message that could potentially save over 1,500 lives. What makes this different from any other war drama? The whole film will be shot to appear as one single take.
According to an interview for Vanity Fair with the director Sam Mendes, he states that he wanted to bring the audience closer to the experiences and challenges both of the soldiers were undergoing. He wanted to promote a sense of attachment and realism with the film. This connection could make the pressure the soldiers were feeling more tangible to audiences as well, thus transforming the film into a thriller, according to Mendes.
Some of the challenges involved with this cinematic endeavor included making sure there was consistency in the timing for scenes and the lighting. Mendes spent nine months with renowned cinematographer Roger Deakinsin order to execute this technique precisely. The filmmakers also faced the difficulty of maintaining a linear storyline all while these characters were immersed in a tumultuous and expansive environment.
In their long-distance mission, Shofield and Blake meet other soldiers and characters who are played by Richard Madden, Andrew Scott, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Claire Duburcq.
1917’s limited release premiere is December 25 and will have a wide release on January 10.