REVIEW: 1917

Y’all, I’m not a fan of blood. I’m not a fan of a lot of visible injury or edge-of-death scenes as a way to make me emotional. Should I not be going to war movies?

Maybe. I’ll look away at the very idea of injury, but the swelling music that’s in a lot of these movies? Heck. Yes.

Emma-violence-meter: 2/10, 10 being ridiculously violent. Much appreciated. Nothing ridiculously graphic, much more of that moving music. My favorite, yes favorite, use of violence was when the main character ran across the line of men running into battle and collided with the soldiers a bunch of times. He got thrown and rolled to get up as inelegantly and earnestly as my heart could take.

The soundtrack to that scene raised it to another level, too: a hero with all the orchestra but without the usual pomp and circumstance. His big moment was to run clumsily, not lead an army into battle. I will always be a fan of that kind of switch-up. He was friendless, misunderstood, unsupported, but doggedly persistent. What a great (underrepresented?) value in big movies!!!

I didn’t mean to skip right to the end of the movie in my review. Good reviewers maybe don’t do that? But the end was my favorite part.

To go backwards, I really like how it mostly followed two characters. It felt different from other war movies I’ve seen, which I think spent more time trying to get me to empathize with characters besides the main ones. From the get-go, there was no doubt that my loyalty belonged entirely to these two lazy, unremarkable, relatable guys, and these guys alone. They were the extent of my duty. The movie made a promise with me: love these lovable guys, and you will get what you need from me.

When the time for one of their sacrifices came, I was ready in some way. The movie had said, here is your job. We will break your heart and you will thank us. I heard. I asked only that it wouldn’t abuse me with intestines spilling out or a limb torn off, and it respected my wishes.

What made me even MORE tolerant of what blood-spilling there was was that they bucked the cliché of having wise last words at a certain fateful moment. They leaned into his childishness (I’m using ambiguous pronouns to protect any spoilers I can, because why not?). I loved that choice! Tragedy is tragedy. Death is tragedy. His wasted wisdom wasn’t going to make me sadder than his wasted life. He clung to his friend, asked him to talk him through dying, begged for reassurance that he could get to his brother, and cried from fear until he died. I was a puddle, no extreme shock about it. A sudden, “shock” death isn’t the only way to break a heart! Lots more to think about when he dies slowly after being kind to his attacker….

A little late, but re-tweet to all it won at the Oscars: Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects. Fine by me. Thanks for not scarring me and only making my heart squeeze appreciating persistence!


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