1917 (Film)

1917 (Film) Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What is the mission that Blake and Schofield get sent to do?

    British high command sends Blake and Schofield to deliver the message to the unit about to attack the new German line. According to General Erinmore, the retreating Germans cut the phone lines as they retreated, ensuring the British couldn't communicate with their troops, thereby giving them a competitive advantage. The Germans are now planning a strategic withdrawal, rather than a retreat, and Blake and Schofield must deliver a message instructing the Second Battalion not to attack the Germans, before they rush into battle and risk losing 1,600 soldiers.

  2. 2

    What is the irony of Blake's death?

    Blake's death is ironic because he gets killed by the German pilot whom he tried to save from a burning plane. While Blake has extended compassion to the enemy, he receives no such compassion in return, dying for his kindness.

  3. 3

    What warning does Schofield receive about Mackenzie?

    Captain Smith tells Schofield that he ought to have witnesses when he delivers the message to Mackenzie. He elaborates that "...Some men just want to fight," suggesting that Mackenzie is not the most logical colonel, and is always looking for an opportunity to be on the offensive when it comes to war techniques.

  4. 4

    What does Schofield like about Blake?

    While Schofield is much more serious than Blake, and seems to resent having even been sent on the mission in the beginning of the film, he also becomes endeared to his more talkative companion. As they make their way through no man's land, Blake tells some stories that make Schofield smile. Additionally, Blake nobly saves Schofield from death when the German barrack collapses on them. At the end of the film, Schofield tells Blake's brother, Joseph, that Blake was a good man, and that he was always telling funny stories.

  5. 5

    What is notable about the relationship between action and repose throughout the film's narrative?

    The entire film is built around a structure of fluctuating action. One moment, Schofield is in a death-defying action sequence, a fight for his life against the dangers of war, and the next he is able to find a moment of peace. After Blake tells him a funny story, the German plane crashes nearby and Blake is killed. Following this, Schofield is united with some soldiers, and sits in silence as they exchange pleasantries. Immediately after this, he must make his way through the bombed-out Écoust. After fighting with a sniper, he finds a moment of peace with a French woman and a baby hiding out in one of the buildings. Violence ensues immediately after this and Schofield gets carried over a waterfall. The next morning, he finds himself in a peaceful forest, listening to a British soldier sing a tender song. The structure of the film goes back and forth between sequences of extreme danger, and small moments of quiet and calm.