Miranda’s Reading Questions for March 24th

  • “Break of Day in the Trenches” is essentially about a soldier in the trenches that comes across a rat. The soldier seems to resent the rat as the poem continues. In Rosenberg’s, “Break of Day in the Trenches”, what does the rat represent? Why does the narrator seem jealous of it? 
  • “Louse Hunting” is a poem that describes a battle fought on the soldier’s bodies rather than the battlefield. In this poem how are lice significant? How do they represent the war’s effect on the soldier’s psyches?  
  •  Blunden’s, “1916 Seen from 1921” is about the effects war has on soldiers’ lives. What are the narrator’s views on life after the war for soldiers? Are they accurate to this day? 

Miranda Colbert’s review of “1917”

Word Count: 688

In times where modern technology has enhanced movies to unbelievable heights, it is comforting to see the simplicity of a story told in one continuous shot. Even though this isn’t a new idea, (the first one-shot film being in 1948) it is sort of a refreshing change of pace. Taking on this challenge in his movie, “1917” Director Sam Mendes attempts to capture the horrors of World War One. Partially inspired by his grandfather’s war stories, he tells the tale of two young soldiers, Lance Corporal Schofield (George McKay) and Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) who are ordered to head through “no mans land” to a nearby company to call off an attack. As the two get closer to the front lines, the horrors of war become apparent. 

Though the technical skill of Mendes cannot be denied, it’s hard to focus on anything other than that. Because the film was more of an extended shot it prevents anything else from stealing away the focus. The point of having multiple angles in the movie is to give a different perspective on a certain subject. It is also a refreshing change of pace so the viewer is constantly stimulated. Taking away from the angles makes the viewer hyper focused on other elements. For me, I was focused on the story itself, which was lackluster in my opinion. I felt as though Mendes focused on the technical aspect so much that the plot ended up being predictable and simplistic. It got rid of the interesting characters, or a reason for them to continue on other than the mission they were handed in the beginning of the film. Film reviewer, Peter Sobczynski, explained it as “watching someone else play a video game for a solid two hours.” I agree with his point, it felt as if the person playing the video just went through the main mission without doing any of the interesting side quests. They got to the point of the game, but did not let the viewer see why the game was amazing. 

I feel as though the actors were properly chosen. They were average when it came to looks, which emphasized the point that anyone at that time could have been a soldier. They’re acting was decent (though I guess you could blame that on an average script). There wasn’t much emotion involved, but when there was it was accurately displayed.*  McKay also accurately expressed the emotions of exhaustion as well as desperation toward the end of his mission. His constant determination throughout the film was nothing to be laughed at as well. 

The film does a great job with providing enough history for the viewers to understand, without boring them to death. I know for me personally, it is hard to pay attention to long speeches filled with information. Mendes relays information through short dialogue and context clues that help the viewer get enough to have an understanding without being an expert. Since the movie isn’t about World War I specifically (though that is when it was set), but rather how awful war is, it is unnecessary for the viewer to know every detail.Because it also takes place in the middle of the war itself, it would have been impossible to explain how the war went since the character wouldn’t know that information. Which Mendes understands and accounts for. 

Overall, I think it was a good movie. Would I say I’d watch it again or buy it? Not really. The movie was definitely well filmed and Mendes is obviously talented, but I don’t think he’s a writer. There were many issues in the film but not enough for it to be considered horrible. 


*For example Lieutenant Joseph Blake’s (Richard Madden) reaction to the death of his brother was accurate. It wasn’t dramatic but more on the numb side. It felt as though he had dealt with death and was not trying to let it get to him. The scene was strong as well as realistic in my opinion.