The road goes ever on and on: one-shotting 1917

A lot has been written about 1917 already, Sam Mendes’ latest movie and his first non-Bond film in years. I won’t be offering a full-blown review; I liked the film, though I think it’s better as a technical achievement than as storytelling, and in terms of the latter I don’t think it does anything particularly new or different compared to many other films about the First World War. However, I don’t think its form can be dismissed just as a gimmick – doing so strikes me as, well, silly, because there is clearly a purpose to the one-shot structure. Whether this purpose is fulfilled successfully or not, that’s a different discussion, and reviewers as much as general audiences seem to disagree on whether Mendes’ presentation benefits the material.

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The Ghost of Spectres Past

Spectre isn’t a bad film. It is competently made on most counts, though admittedly this is damning it with faint praise, and it has a fantastic pre-credit sequence that’s up there with the best of them. Nevertheless, Spectre is a huge disappointment – perhaps even more so than Quantum of Solace. Where Quantum suffered from Marc Forster not being very good at directing action, Spectre suffers most from writers that don’t really understand what exactly they want the film to do and, worse, not realising that Skyfall had done most of these things already, and done them well.


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