1917: why ‘pacifist war movies’ are on the march
Like Dunkirk and Jarhead before it, Sam Mendes’s epic eschews bloodshed and sabre-rattling by focusing on soldiers who don’t want to killWar movies used to celebrate military leaders or courageous crack squads but today’s auteurs are less turned on by patriotism and violence, and so are their audiences.
Just look at how the battle epic Midway, er, bombed last month.
The workaround seems to be a new kind of war story centred on soldiers who really don’t want to kill anyone.
You could call it a “pacifist war movie”.Sam Mendes’s latest film, 1917, is a classic example.
In real time, it follows two British soldiers in France on a dangerous mission to warn another battalion they are about to walk into a German trap.
These men want to stop the killing rather than add to it.
Even when one of them encounters a wounded German soldier,
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