After being behind the camera for the last two James Bond efforts, Sam Mendes has turned his attention to a very different battlefield: WWI. 1917 chronicles the efforts of two British soldiers, played by Captain Fantastic‘s George MacKay and Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman as they race across enemy territory to deliver a message that could turn the tide of the war.
The film reunites Mendes with Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins, who he’s worked with on Jarhead, Revolutionary Road, and Skyfall. This also marks the first time Mendes has penned the screenplay for one of his features, which comes as a little bit of a surprise, at least to me. Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Richard Madden, and Andrew Scott co-star.
This looks like a big, studio war film in the classic mold, although Mendes isn’t sticking to dated techniques. There will reportedly be at least one long continuous tracking shot ala the Dunkirk scene in Atonement.
1917 opens in limited release on Christmas Day, followed by an expansion on January 10th so you know Universal sees some awards in its future.