(Universal/1917)

Presenting his World War One battlefield movie "1917" as a single shot had pros and cons for Oscar winning director Sam Mendes. Mistakes meant lengthy retakes but "accidents" also gave an authenticity of life in the trenches.

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I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.

Somehow 1917 did, and that's probably the highest praise I can give Sam Mendes' newest war drama: It took a century-old conflict and made it relatable.

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A scene from 1917 (Universal Pictures)

Editor's Note: This article by James Barber originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The new movie "1917" recreates the experience of troops on the ground during World War I through the story of two young soldiers sent on a dangerous mission to the front lines.

The movie won't get a nationwide release until Jan. 10, 2020, but Universal Pictures is inviting readers to free advance screenings at 15 military bases, as well as local theaters in more than 40 markets, before the official release.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Creating a realistic battle scene — whether it's from World War II or the Napoleonic Wars — demands technical know-how and precise attention to detail.

Paul Biddiss, the military technical adviser on the upcoming World War I movie 1917, taught the actors everything they needed to know, from proper foot care to how to hold a weapon, "which allows the actor to concentrate on his primary task. Acting!" Biddis told Insider.

Biddiss has worked on projects from a variety of time periods — "large Napoleonic battles through to World War I, World War II, right up to modern-day battles with Special Forces," Biddiss said.

Read on to learn about how Biddiss prepared 1917 performers for the gruesome, grueling warfare of World War I.

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The upcoming drama 1917 intends to drop viewers directly into the trenches of World War I.

To do that, director Sam Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins, intend to drag the audience through a single battle in a war that claimed millions of lives more than 100 years ago not as an idle spectator, but as an infantryman on a desperate mission to deliver a message that might save 1,600 British soldiers from a deadly trap — or doom them all, should he fail.

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I watch a lot of television, movies, trailers, and trailer breakdowns for work, but here's the thing: I can't tell you or anyone else what makes a genuinely good military movie or show, especially if I haven't seen it yet. And I wouldn't call myself a "critic" in the classic sense. Then again what do they know; they said The Hurt Locker was a masterpiece.

What I do know, is that I get excited about stories that make an honest effort to achieve some measure of authenticity, whether it's a full blown dramatic reenactment of some major conflict, or seeing characters interact (even briefly) in a way you recognize, because you've had those conversations on base, overseas, or while you were drunk at one in the morning in the barracks.

At their best, military movies and shows focus on a character's service as more than a lazy plot device to explain why they're good with guns, have a high and tight, or shout out bits of military lingo at random moments; at their very worst, they may trot out the broken vet trope to add a little drama. And of course, there's the laziest of them where everyone's an operator — even lawyers, apparently.

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