1917 – Does it live up to the Hype?

As a regular visitor of the cinema I had seen the trailer for Sam Mendes’ epic new film, world-war-one-flick “1917”. Much was made of it supposedly having been shot in one take. Always the sceptic, I found myself paying close attention to continuity errors (of which I spotted none, but I am only human) as well as tell-tale scene change enablers such as moving behind a thick tree, entering a very dark room, or close-ups of dynamically moving scener (water, flames, etc.). I estimate the movie was shot in about 4 to 8 takes, melted together through well-designed camera movements. Well, definitely two takes (scene change when Schofield falls back down the stairs).

Not that anyone will ask me, but I think the film deserves whichever Oscars it can get. It’s impressive, visceral, confrontational and overwhelming, with good acting and an ending that will keep you on your toes until Benedict Cumberbatch’s final immaculately spoken words. The uselessness of war breathes throughout the narrative, which is the message the viewer will take home.

This is really worth a visit to your local cinema. One of the better war movies since “Saving Private Ryan”.

The Professor is no longer with us

There are some people you don’t expect to die. Not because you think they’re somehow above the laws of nature, but because they have always been a part of your life, they always contribute in their way. They have effectively become part of your eternal surroundings, like an old oak tree in your garden.

Neil Peart, drummer and main lyricist of Canadian rock band Rush, was such a man. He was there before I was, his band helped me through puberty and youth, his lyrics were brilliant and thoughtful, his music transcended eras and tastes. He was one of the very few musicians I felt a personal connection to, no matter how irrational or idiosyncratic that may be. When I was going through a bad patch I read his “Ghost Rider”, which I guess was the main cement of that connection. I adored his lyrics, admired his drumming, I mean, Neil was one of those legendary artists who was the whole package. A person to look up to, a person that could help you sail the stormy seas of existence.

I guess I, and many others with me, will have to weather life’s storms without him around.

I am not one to send out prayers, but my thoughts in this time of loss go out to Neil’s loved ones as well as his band mates in Rush. And also to the world of progressive rock for which he was a huge source of inspiration.

I feel gutted. Going to put on “Presto”, hoping I will keep it dry during “The Pass”, then go through my angry phase with “2112” at max volume.

Catch the spirit, Neil, catch a fish.