Universal Pictures has released a new trailer for the upcoming World War I epic 1917. This is the latest from Sam Mendes (Skyfall, American Beauty) and the filmmaker has truly outdone himself this time. Not only is he taking on some harrowing subject matter with a stacked cast, but he's decided to make it appear as though all of these events will unfold in a single, continuous shot that lasts for two hours. Safe to say, this could prove to be unlike anything we've ever seen.
The trailer debuted during the movie's panel at New York Comic-Con and was promptly released online after. The footage, though not presented as a single shot, is excruciatingly tense and undeniably grand in scope. We get a strong sense of the story at play, which sees two soldiers being handed a very important mission that could save the lives of hundreds of men. During the panel, Sam Mendes had this to say about the story.
"The movie's set in two hours of one day in the spring of 1917. The Germans, this is obviously true, retreated to the Hindenburg line, and for a few hours, the British had no idea where they'd gone... It's across this landscape that the two young men are sent to preserve the lives of 1,600 men who are to be sent to attack the Hindenberg line. The movie takes place in just two hours and in one unbroken shot."
The cast includes George MacKay (Captain Fantastic) and Dean-Charles Chapman (Game of Thrones), who are the soldiers tasked with carrying out the mission at the heart of the movie. The rest of the ensemble includes Colin Firth (The King's Speech), Benedict Cumberbatch (Avengers: Endgame), Richard Madden (Rocketman), Andrew Scott (Fleabag), Daniel Mays (Line of Duty), Adrian Scarborough (Blunt Talk), Jamie Parker (Valkyrie), Nabhaan Rizwan (Informer) and Claire Duburcq in her feature debut. The screenplay was co-written by Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns.
To add to the prestige, cinematographer Roger Deakins shot 1917. The Oscar-winner may not be a name recognized by casual moviegoers, but his work, which includes classics like The Shawshank Redemption and No Country For Old Men, speaks for itself. Deakins spoke at the NYCC panel a bit about the notion of making this movie seem like one, continuous shot.
"I don't think he told me that. I think I got the script and it was on the front page: 'This is conceived as one continuous shot.' And I went, 'really?' When I first read it, I thought, is it a gimmick? But it's not, it's integral to the experience."
WWII movies have been a staple in Hollywood for years, but WWI hasn't been covered quite as much. That alone could make this stand out, but it looks like plenty is going on here to make this worth putting on your radar. 1917 hits theaters in limited release on December 25, with an expansion set for January 10, 2020.