1. The story is brutally simpleTwo soldiers are ordered to deliver a message to a British division that's about to attack the retreating Germans: don't do it, it’s a trap. The only way to get there is across the hell of no man’s land – if they’re too slow, 1,600 lives, including the brother of one of the messengers, will be lost. So they can’t turn back.
Some of Britain’s biggest stars are in it, but the two central roles are played by up-and-comers George MacKay (remember him in Captain Fantastic?) and Dean-Charles Chapman (AKA Tommen from Game of Thrones.)
2. It’s meant to be one of the most intense movie experiences ever…Remember how it felt watching the first half-hour of Saving Private Ryan? Or the really intense bits of Dunkirk? That’s the whole movie here. According to those who are lucky enough to have seen it, every second of this lethal race against time is utterly immersive. So much so that there’s a real risk of forgetting to eat your snacks.
3. … because of one incredible movie-making trickDirector Sam Mendes has managed to pull off a crazily ambitious trick: it’s all one long shot! (Well, not literally, but it’s been made to look like it.) We’ve seen impressive unbroken shots before, from the cabaret club in Goodfellas to whole indie movies like Victoria. But a one-scene blockbuster is something else. Go twice to see if you can spot the joins…
4. It’s all based on a true storySometimes as a kid, you hear a true tale that stays with you. If you’re Sam Mendes, you keep it in your head for decades and then boom, you turn it into a potential Oscar-winner. The story about a daring message delivery was told to Mendes by his grandfather, a First World War veteran. No wonder it feels so real: it kind of is.
5. Awards are coming!
If you want to be able to shout “I saw that on opening weekend!” when the Oscars are handed out this year, join us on 10 January. We can easily see 1917 being up for Best Picture and Best Director. It’s already being called a ‘masterpiece.’