The newest trailer for Sam Mendes’ WWI epic 1917 sends young British soldiers George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman on a race to save the day. The Great War may have happened over 100 years ago, but filmmakers remain fascinated by the conflict, which engulfed most of Europe from 1914 until 1918 and ultimately cost nearly 20 million people their lives.
Just last year for instance, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson had an unlikely hit with They Shall Not Grow Old, a documentary film using restored and colorized film footage to paint a heartbreaking portrait of the real men who fought and died in the so-called “War to End All Wars.” Skyfall director Mendes has become the latest director to offer his own take on the war, and his is a unique vision indeed, employing movie trickery to make the entire film seem to happen in one continuous shot (in the style of Alejandro G. Iñárritu's Oscar-winning Birdman). The film stars MacKay and Chapman as young British soldiers tasked with a perilous mission to race across enemy territory and deliver a message to prevent a battalion from marching into a trap. If they should fail, hundreds of soldiers will lose their lives, among them Chapman’s own brother.
The latest 1917 trailer from Universal Pictures efficiently lays out the story’s devastatingly high stakes, setting up MacKay and Chapman’s mission and offering a taste of the film’s harrowing combat action and human drama. See the trailer in the space below:
Besides the main stars Chapman and MacKay, the trailer also affords glimpses of co-stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Colin Firth. But arguably the real star of the movie is renowned cinematographer Roger Deakins, who lent his expertise to help Mendes realize his one-take vision of The Great War. Deakins of course had famously been nominated for 13 Academy Awards across his career without winning, until he finally took home the prize on his lucky 14th nomination, winning for lensing Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049. Just going by the trailer, Deakins is a good bet to score his 15th Oscar nomination and might want to clear a space in his trophy case for his second prize.
1917 director Mendes is himself no stranger to Oscar glory, having won Best Director for 1999’s American Beauty (a movie that is now widely dismissed as dated). It remains to be seen if Mendes will add another Oscar to his resume for his epic of WWI, but early glimpses of 1917 certainly look promising, and of course the Oscars always love war stories, so Mendes is probably a good bet to at least snag a nomination.
Source: Universal Pictures
- 1917 (2019) release date: Dec 25, 2019