Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen 1917, you shouldn’t probably scroll down. Or do. Your choice!
Writer and director Sam Mendes has garnered critical acclaim for his World War I epic, 1917. The film also took home the Best Motion Picture and Best Director awards at the 2020 Golden Globes with the Oscars to follow.
While the plot and the acting is truly par excellence, it’s the cinematography and the unique method of direction that has caught everyone’s eye.
One scene in particular has been going viral on social media.
Twitter has been raving about this for a while now.
1917 (2019) | Theatre— MoviesDrop (@MoviesDrop) January 20, 2020
Insane Cinematography, whole war drama in one continuous shot was totally wow. ❤️ Roger Deakins. 🙏
The way they made it thrilling with such a cinematic experience is something we all should definitely experience on the big screen. MUST WATCH. 💯 pic.twitter.com/VuxdZqmTKk
Never had a cinematic experience like @1917 Absolutely unbelievable. Still in shock.— Irvine Welsh (@IrvineWelsh) January 19, 2020
1917 by Sam Mendes. AMAZING! I’ll admit I hadn’t seen a single trailer, or knew anything about it but it had me hooked from start to finish. And I looooved that it was all a sequence shot. The gif shows one of my favorite parts *the feels* pic.twitter.com/tIlF3wn9AL— Mariana Quesada 💛 (@booksbymyshelf) January 20, 2020
Roger Deakins was already cemented as my favorite cinematographer after Blade Runner 2049, but 1917 took it up a notch. The “single” shot may seem like a gimmick, but I was in awe of the execution and thought it gave a unique view into war that was perfect for the material. pic.twitter.com/DC2GqCy3Kz— James Simpson (@GoldFireStudios) January 19, 2020
Now, for the uninitiated, this can be a hellish job. Everything would be going right till the last minute until someone makes one mistake and you have to reshoot the whole thing again.
Of course, the whole film isn’t a single shot phenomenon. Nobody shot it for 2 hours straight and then packed up.
According to iNews, ‘it was created in a series of extended, uncut takes that could be connected seamlessly to look and feel as if it is one continuous shot’.
But, a film such as this, where a lot of the scenes have been single-shot sequences, can have a shit ton of problems. Like I had mentioned before, anything, literally anything could go wrong.
For example, one of the biggest issues, according to Screenrant, came from a cigarette lighter. The scene involving Andrew Scott was one of the lengthiest but the faulty prop meant that he was unable to light his cigarette, which meant that an entire scene had to be re-shot!
Imagine the plethora of things that could have gone wrong. The actor could have tripped, he might have stumbled against the wrong extra, one of the explosions could have gone wrong. Anything at all could have gone wrong and they would have had to shoot the whole damn thing again.
You can watch the official featurette of the film here, which also involves the said scene and has Sam Mendes talk about the process.
And if you think this is an insane scene, go watch the film. You have just only discovered the tip of the iceberg.