Ostensibly conceived by director/co-writer/co-producer Sam Mendes ("American Beauty," "Skyfall") as an important remembrance of things past, "1917" comes off as rather desperately self-important and awards-grubbing. Mendes' film cannot help but evoke a WWI version of "Saving Private Ryan" with its mashup of visceral war action and a mission with an emotional "this time, it's personal" hook. Add a self-styled auteur's flourish — in this case, the cinematic-stunt illusion of the film's two hours being shot in what appears to be two unbroken "takes," or camera shots (achieved in large part by the brand of editing trickery seen in Alejandro Gonz
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