Update: In the midst of horrific World War I battle, a British soldier is ordered to deliver a message to commanders of a neighboring battalion to call off a planned attack. If the message isn’t delivered, 1600 men will die. (Remember Mark Lee‘s Archy Hamilton in Gallipoli? Also a messenger.) The above-mentioned soldier is so ordered, apparently, because his brother is a member of this battalion. Do I understand no one else is willing to deliver the message because the mission seems suicidal? But since when is soldiering a matter of willingness? If I was an officer looking to save 1600 men I would send three messengers, which would increase the odds of at least one getting through.

Previous: A trailer for Sam Mendes1917 (Universal 12.25), which has been described as “Birdman meets the carnage of World War I”, surfaced today.

Co-written by Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 1917 will follow “two young soldiers” — George MacKay‘s Schofield and Dean-Charles Chapman‘s “Blake” — as they struggle to survive the bullets, shrapnel and generally harsh conditions. Costarring Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden and Andrew Scott.

Pic has allegedly been shot as one long continuous take by the great Roger Deakins, hence the Birdman analogy. 1:30 pm Update: Apparently not so much.

Filming began on 4.1.19, and ended only about ten days ago, I’ve read. Filming mostly happened in Wiltshire, Hankley Common and Govan, Scotland, as well as at Shepperton Studios.

The purpose of the trailer, obviously, is to say “hey, Academy members and award-season handicappers, don’t forget that we’ll be in the Best Picture race as much as anyone else, even though we won’t open until Christmas….save the date!”

Mendes has been on hiatus from the auteurist heavy-hitter award-seeking game for just over a decade. Revolutionary Road (’08) was his last would-be Best Picture contender. (I’m sorry but Away We Go didn’t count.) Twice over the last seven years Mendes became a Bond director for hire — on Skyfall (’12) and then Spectre (’15).

Stanley Kubrick‘s Paths of Glory, which opened 62 years ago, is still the high-water mark for intense, you-are-there World War I verisimiitude. 1917 will have to beat Kubrick’s attack-on-the-anthill sequence, and if it doesn’t it’ll be rough sledding. I’m just being honest.