A research screening of Sam Mendes1917 happened this evening (Wednesday, 8.18) at the AMC Garden State in Paramus, New Jersey, and one guy (whom I know but have had only sporadic contact with) is claiming it’s grade-A and then some.

“It’s much better than Dunkirk,” the guy claims, “and is basically as if the opening battle of Saving Private Ryan was a whole movie. Young British soldiers are trying to relay a message regarding a German ambush, and we follow their mission and race against the clock. It’s not just a gimmick or experience. It actually has character development and first-rate dialogue. Surprisingly emotional since the soldiers have personal family ties. Elements of irony and dark comedy. It’s filmed like Birdman with long takes hidden and disguised as one shot. Brutally graphic, shocking and bloody, lots of dodging of bombs, hiding in caves. Hard R.”

Accept the word “masterpiece” or not, but that’s the term being used this evening. The running time is a little less than two hours — 110 minutes. Most of the film has a professional completed veneer…nearly done. Occasionally funny in an unexpected way. Uses magic-trick editing to make it look like it was shot in a single take. Easily dp Roger Deakins‘ best work.

The next reaction will be from someone claiming that 1917 is not as good as all this — trust me.