Director Sam Mendes’ forthcoming World War I one-shot film “1917” will not only mark the director’s most ambitious feat yet but will also itself prove of the many cunning ways war films can be presented without being bogged down by the fundamental history of the event.

In an interview with the LA Times, Mendes dives straight into this very concept of alleviating the stresses of regurgitating a history textbook. Dedicated to his father, Alfred Mendes, who served in the trenches of the First World War, “1917” seemingly goes above and beyond the war movie tropes, defining more so as a movie buff’s film, rather than a history buff’s. 

“I’ve made this movie for as big an audience as possible, not for people who understand history,” explained Mendes. “It’s not a history lesson or ‘Eat your peas and cabbage.’ You’re trying to articulate some larger truth. It’s when human beings are pushed to their absolute limit that you begin to understand a bit more about the human experience: what it is to walk hand-in-hand with death, to not know whether you’re ever going to see your family again, to have your friend die in your arms.”

The most ambitious part of “1917” is the one-shot style of filming. Dean Charles-Chapman, who plays Lance Corporal Blake in the movie, recently explained how he had no idea that “1917” would be one-shot until the director told him. 

Actor George MacKay told the LA Times that the characters themselves were sort of built on the fly and drawn out in rehearsal. Though it is a war movie based in history, the characters are more like impressions designed by the actors, adding a personal layer even to the "1917" cast, which also includes Colin Firth, Andrew Scott, and Benedict Cumberbatch. 

“For me, the work I felt I needed to do when we were rehearsing, was to know what his home was, where he’s from, who his family is, all of that stuff,” MacKay said. “The more we started to do it, the more Dean and I became those characters.”

“1917” brings the First World War to theaters on Dec. 25.

1917 Poster "1917" stars Dean-Charles Chapman. Photo: 1917 Facebook Page