In Review: 1917

War films regularly find filmmakers obsessed with the experiential, leaning into some element of the form that places the audience in the position of soldiers on the battlefield. Apocalypse Now pioneered stereo sound that surrounded the audience in the chaos of airfare attacks. Saving Private Ryan combined its painstaking authenticity with a first-person visual point of view. More recently, Dunkirk edited what was separate strikes on air, water, and sea into a single concurrent narrative to present the multi-pronged efforts of war as a unified event. And now Sam Mendes arrives with the surprisingly rare World War I film 1917 to tell the story of one daring mission in real time, shot to appear as an unbroken take. It succeeds in strides, but makes for a disappointing experience beyond the stylistic gamble.

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