It looks like World War I is finally getting the major motion picture treatment it deserves, and it's about damn time.
The new trailer for 1917 just dropped, and it's two minutes of chaos, fear, and confusion as we follow soldiers on the Western Front through trenches, underground tunnels, and across barren stretches of no-man's land — which is exactly what you expect from a drama about the first world war.
Directed by Sam Mendes (Jarhead, Skyfall, Spectre, Road to Perdition), the film takes place, not surprisingly, in 1917, and follows a pair of British soldiers played by George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman, who are ordered to make their way through contested territory to deliver a message that could save 1,600 of their fellow soldiers from a deadly trap.
Should they fail, "it will be a massacre," Collin Firth in the role of a beleaguered British officer, says in the clip. In addition to stars like Firth, the cast includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, and Richard Madden.
Given Mendes' ability to share a character's complex internal struggles — he somehow managed to make James Bond seem sympathetic in Skyfall, and with Jarhead, captured the moral complexity of what it's like to be an infantryman at war who never fired a shot in anger — we might get a film that renders a distant conflict like World War I relatable, and immediately recognizable.
1917 is set to hit theaters on Dec. 25, 2019.
This first appeared in Task and Purpose here.