1917 (Film)

1917 (Film) Summary and Analysis of Part 5


The men get up and get ready to move out, noticing that Schofield seems nearly catatonic. He tells them he needs to find the Devons, and they tell him that they are the Devons, and that only some of them have been sent to fight the Germans. The soldiers send him in Mackenzie's direction and he runs through the trenches to find the general.

He stops a weeping man and asks to be directed to Mackenzie, as a battle begins. As explosions take place around him and men rush to battle, Schofield stumbles through the trenches and climbs into a field to find Mackenzie in a cut-and-cover. When he gets to the entrance, soldiers hold him back, suggesting that he cannot see Mackenzie, but he insists that he has a letter from his battalion. He pushes past the men and goes in to see Mackenzie, telling him that he has orders to stop the attack.

Schofield hands over the message to Mackenzie, but Mackenzie is stubborn and refuses to stop the attack. "They've been planning this for months, they want you to attack," pleads Schofield, and Mackenzie agrees to read the letter. Mackenzie takes the letter to heart and calls off the attack.

"I hoped today might be a good thing. Hope is a dangerous thing," Mackenzie says, sighing. He tells Schofield to have someone look after his wounds before telling him to "fuck off." On his way out, Schofield asks a soldier where Blake is, and he tells him that he would have been in the first wave. He directs him towards the casualty clearing station, and Schofield makes his way there.

At the tents, Schofield calls for Blake and sees a bunch of men with horrible injuries. He eventually finds Joseph Blake and tells him about the journey and the death of his brother. Joseph is grateful to Schofield, as Schofield hands over his brother's rings and dog tags. Schofield tells him his name is Will and goes off to the mess tent for food. "If I may, I'd like to write to your mother, tell her Tom wasn't alone," Schofield says, turning back to Joseph. Joseph thanks Schofield.

Schofield sits under a tree, as at the beginning of the film, and pulls out photographs of his family, looking at the pictures of his wife and two daughters.


While Schofield is late to deliver his message to the Second Devons, he finds that not all of the soliders have been sent into battle when he arrives at his destination, and there is still hope that he can deliver his message. In a gripping and high-stakes sequence, he runs through the trenches, pushing soldiers out of the way, in order to find General Mackenzie and give the word. As explosions begin around him and a battle ensues, the camera follows Schofield as he runs to finish what he has begun, even when hope is scarce.

Up until the very end, the stakes remain high for Schofield. An arrival at the encampment of the Second Devons is not an occasion to relax and feel accomplished; rather it triggers a sudden realization in Schofield that he has the ability to deliver his message after all, and in the middle of a battle that is already beginning. The time crunch of the mission is compacted into a few moments as he sprints through a field, explosives going off around him. In this moment, it is unclear if Schofield will manage to make it in time, or if he will end up getting killed in the eleventh hour.

Not only is it physically difficult to reach Mackenzie, but once Schofield finally reaches him, Mackenzie is not amenable to the orders to stop the attack. "I have heard it all before," he insists, not even reading the message, "...I'm not calling back my men only to send them back out there tomorrow, not when we've got the bastards on the run." Schofield finds that he must not only deliver the message, but convince its recipient of the integrity of its contents. This presents one final challenge for Schofield; the journey was harrowing enough, now he must be convincing to one of his superiors as well.

Schofield's mission is not completed after he finds Mackenzie, and after he has delivered the message he manages to find Joseph Blake, Tom's brother, and inform him about Tom's fate. The two share an emotional scene, in which Schofield hands over Blake's dog tags and rings and tells Joseph what a good man Blake was. It is the first genuinely emotionally cathartic moment in the film, after so much action and soldierly stoicism. As the sun begins to rise in the distance, for the first time in the film, Schofield is able to openly mourn the loss.

The film comes full circle, ending in the same way that it began, with Schofield sitting under a tree. He looks at photographs of his wife and daughters and reflects on what has happened to him, all of the trauma he has endured, the losses he has suffered, and the heroic act that he has completed. In the beginning of the film, Schofield is leaning against a tree on a cloudy day, sitting with his friend, Blake. At the end of the film, the sun has come out, but Schofield is alone, and dreams of his return home. It is a melancholy image that seeks to reflect the atrocities of war, but also show the nobility of its heroes.