There’s very little silence in Sam Mendes’ absorbing WWI picture 1917. Two young men rest against a tree, for an initial fleeting few minutes, trying to save what small amounts of energy they have – but the shouting of soldiers and the whirring of planes is inescapable.
What begins as a familiar depiction of a mass effort to save history quickly zooms in on the race against the clock for just those two boys, no longer at ease. Colin Firth (the first of a handful of household names cropping up for one scene, and then gone) lucidly gives privates Blake and Schofield the instructions to deliver a message miles away, in enemy territory, that could save 1600 lives – including Blake’s brother.
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