Following a double stint at the helm of the 007 franchise, Sam Mendes returned in 2019 to a subject he hadn't laid hands on since 2005 - war. This time around though, the director cast his narrative eye back 100 years into the past and World War I, telling a story that fell on the third year of the conflict - 1917.
Inspired by stories told to Mendes' by his grandfather, 1917 follows soldier Tom Blake (Dean Charles-Chapman) on his mission to carry a message calling off an offensive attack the next morning that threatens the lives of 1,600 serving men, including his brother Joseph. Along for the ride is Lance Corporal William Schofield (George MacKay), veteran of the Somme and all-round survivor.
Thanks to some pretty serious, brother-shaped motivation, Tom appears to be the film's lead, utilising a rich backstory and purpose to drive the plot forwards, but after a close encounter with a rather ungrateful German pilot sees him to an early grave, William takes over to see their duty is done.
Although Mendes shot and edited the movie to look like one continuous long shot, the sudden and unexpected death makes 1917 very much a film of two halves.