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1917: A Punishing Review of the World War I Movie Everyone is Talking About

So last night Her Indoors and I went to the local cinema to watch 1917; the epic Sam Mendes directed film that everyone is talking about.

So what’s the big deal about a World War I movie right? Well, first of all, tonight is the 2020 Academy Awards Show and 1917 is one of the strong favorites to win it all. But why?

Well, the movie was much better than I expected. I actually expected another dour miserable war movie; more like Dunkirk (2017). Instead, it was really the adventure of The Revenant (2015), which I loved, meets the ethos of Saving Private Ryan (1998).

1917 is a bittersweet trip into the bowels of human hell.

It all takes place on April 6th, 1917 on a battlefield in France. As a regiment assembles to wage war deep in enemy territory, two soldiers are assigned to race against time and deliver a message that will stop 1,600 men from walking straight into a deadly trap.

Do they make it? And if so, how did they survive and make it against all odds?

The movie does NOT go into the bigger picture of World War I. This is NOT a lesson in history. So if you’re looking for a historical epic that documents, this is NOT your movie. There is no mention of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Herbert Kitchener, Nicholas Romanov II, Franz Josef Habsburg I, Bethmann Hollweg, David Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau, Vladimir Lenin, Woodrow Wilson or even the young Winston Churchill.

In fact, there is barely a mention where they actually are; although later, after some signs, we can figure out they are France. So the movie really has limited context except we know it’s bad and men are fighting and killing one another. For what? We don’t really know. And maybe that was the point…

For those that need a brief summary, World War I was a global conflict between the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria; and the Allies which was a coalition of many nations, most prominently Great Britain, France, Russia, Japan, and Italy. It began with the declaration of war by Austria-Hungary on Serbia on the 28th of July, 1914; and ended with the surrender of Germany on November 11, 1918. That war, far more than World War II, actually defines where we are today…it literally changed the whole world. I mean, for gosh sakes, the whole Middle East we know today was created by the results of World War I. You can see that epic unfold in the great movie Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Anyways, the payoff in this movie tastes like a sour strawberry. I mean, you really want it to find sweetness in the misery but all there really is a bitter taste of broken men in a world gone mad. Yet, it’s super compelling! So yes, you will be glued to your seat watching this epic adventure. That alone says go see this movie!

Well done by Director Sam Mendes as an ode to his relative who lived in that hell, the movie might, at the Oscars, win Best Picture of the Year tonite and more. And I can see why. But is it really the best picture of the year?

1917 Best Picture of the Year?

For me, the Best Picture of the Year was YESTERDAY.

With Yesterday, I left the theatre happy and singing! I was in such good spirits. And the writing was so original and so brilliant. Towards the end, we see a happy-being-alive working-class hero, aka John Lennon, just enjoying an average no man of importance life. It was out of this world. What a great dream! Imagine! But YESTERDAY is not even nominated for Best Picture! So Go Figure!

Hey Academy! What’s your problem?

Anyways, with 1917, I left beaten, broken, and mumbling. I was shellshocked by the explosions; specifically, the huge one when the 2 messengers were in the German trench looking for a way out (that one blew me out of my chair).

My wife and I talked about it the whole way home…

Many will tout the apparent “one continuous shot” feel for the movie as unique and it is. And it was very compelling. The effects and the look of the movie stood out. I mean the sets were incredibly real. Everything was spot on and it put you into that terrible world.

So yeah, if 1917 wins for Best Picture tonight, I will cheer. It’s really compelling!

Now for those who can take the hardcore adult subject matter, go see this movie. It’s a really compelling ride. For those that cannot take being placed in the middle of a war zone for 2 hours and do NOT want to travel into the darkness and be a belated witness to the worst of humanity, don’t see this movie. It’s not for you.

© 2020 – JohnnyPunish.com

Johnny Punish’s Top 5 Picks for Best Picture of 2019

Okay, now here’s my Top 5 Picks for Best Picture of 2019. FYI, 1917 did NOT make my Top 5 but it’s definitely in the Top 10. So check it out…

  1. Yesterday: TrailerImdb
  2. Alita Battle Angel: TrailerImdb
  3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: TrailerImdb
  4. Ford vs. Ferrari: TrailerImdb
  5. Little Women: TrailerImdb

Source: Free Download ALL OF NOTHING GIRL song written for the sequel to Alita Battle Angel by Johnny Punish

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Johnny Punishhttps://www.johnnypunish.com
Johnny Punish, the artist, is the founder and General Manager of VT. He is also a writer, global citizen activist, visionary, musician, artist, entertainer, businessman, investor, life coach, and syndicated columnist. In business, he's known by the name John Allen Punish was educated at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (1980-81) and California State University Fullerton (1981-1984) with studies in accounting and business. Before the "internets" were invented, he owned and ran (5) U.S. national newspapers. He has over 100 original songs penned, recorded, produced and registered with ASCAP with several songs placed in feature films. His music is promoted worldwide and played on all digital networks and net radio.
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