10 Must-See One-Shot Films

9. 1917 (2019)

1917 Review

Two WWI British soldiers attempt to cross no-man’s land to deliver a message to a battalion that is about to walk into a trap.

Sam Mendes’ one-shot has a couple of disguised cuts (and one blatant one), but staying with Blake and Schofield at all times and experiencing all the horrors of battle from the relentless noise and chaos to having to navigate battlefields strewn with corpses of men and horses certainly adds immediacy and a relentlessly visceral element to the action.

Mendes’ personal family connection to the story and Roger Deakins’ steady hand behind the camera (particularly in the astoundingly choreographed last-minute sprint across the trenches) makes 1917 far more than a mere technical exercise, as impressive as said exercise is; it’s an emotionally and physically exhausting thrill ride.

10. Boiling Point (2021)

A head chef whose personal life is collapsing around him tries to get his kitchen team through a nightmare service at his high-end restaurant.

This one-take is real and the technique is used to keep steadily building pressure and stress levels in the audience just as they are climbing for the restaurant staff. The cast’s on-screen skills could have probably been more polished but the very basic mistakes they make seem baked into the story and all help to emphasise the stress and pressure this team are under. 

For 90 minutes with barely a minute to take a calming breath, food hygiene gaffs, nightmare customers and ferocious workplace clashes all combine to make something like the professional kitchen challenge on ‘Masterchef’ from hell.

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