What’s the story?
During World War I, two British soldiers, Schofield and Blake, are given a job to deliver a message to Colonel Mackenzie of the second battalion of the Devonshire regiment, ordering to stop the attack he is about to carry out. The second battalion, considering the Germans’ strategic withdrawal a retreat, wants to go after the Germans to force them to push back further. What they are planning will lead them directly into an ambush and will cost the lives of 1600 men, including Blake’s older brother. It is up to Schofield and Blake to deliver the message to Colonel Mackenzie before the attack takes place.
As Schofield and Blake go through barbed wire fences and into enemy territories, they witness fields laden with rotten corpses. With patrol planes flying above their heads, they cross No Man’s Land to reach the German trenches which are abandoned except for rats…and a tripwire! The explosion almost causes them to lose their lives but Blake manages to save Schofield and they make it out alive, but that is not the end of their problems. They witness a German plane being shot down and Schofield finds himself alone on this mission after a heartbreaking loss.
Is It Any Good?
This movie is easily one of the best war movies ever made; not only because it pulls at the emotional strings of its viewers but because of the way it is executed. It is filmed and edited in such a way that it gives the appearance of a one-shot take, even though it is not. The camera follows the two lead actors as they travel through the battlefields and trenches which give the viewer a unique experience of tagging along as the third person, which many people described was like watching someone play a video game. Apart from emotionally enslaving the viewers, it successfully manages to elicit a few unexpected screams as the two soldiers encounter life-threatening situations, one after the other. Another thing this movie manages to portray beautifully is the brotherhood that is developed between soldiers during a war; and how they risk their lives to save a fellow soldier from dying on the battlefield. You get to see the war in a whole new perspective; that of two innocent boys who set out to deliver a message, but during war, a message conveyed at the right time is what ends up saving the lives of thousands of people.
George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman as the two lead roles deliver a breathtaking and laudable performance. Apart from the lead roles, some renowned faces make small appearances, which include Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew Scott and Colin Finch. Cinematographer Roger Deakins has a massive role to play in capturing the true essence of war in all its horrifying glory; especially a scene where Schofield is engulfed by gunfire from all directions as he is passing through the small village named Ecoust. Roger Deakins made it as visually aesthetic as a war movie can be, if not more.
This movie shows war in a gorgeous way that makes it seem surreal; like you are experiencing it yourself. Two soldiers go on what can only be called a suicide mission through enemy territories to deliver a message that may end up saving many lives. With phenomenal directing and cinematography, it stands out from other war movies in its genre. A small but high-profile cast makes watching this movie a breathtaking experience.