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Roy Green: Given recent events in Iraq, ‘1917’ is a timely film

The film '1917' is in theatres now. .
The film '1917' is in theatres now. . Universal Pictures

Speculation in recent days has been rife about World War III looming on the horizon. Would the U.S. missile killing of Qassem Soleimani, commanding general of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force, lead to almost unimaginable consequences? In broad strokes, a world in flames and tatters?

The answer was always going to be no.

While responses from leaders of Western nations ranged largely between timid and tepid, and reaction to the missile strike led to noisy skirmishing domestically between a U.S. political right and left already deeply engaged in electoral warfare, Soleimani’s death was never going to be the impetus for global conflagration.

READ MORE: Iran commander warns of ‘harsher revenge’ after U.S. says it won’t retaliate

The Quds Force under Soleimani’s command has been declared a terrorist organization by the federal government of Canada. There has also been bipartisan support for a similar Canadian designation for the full IRGC.

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Iran, even with the support of its proxies, is in no position to fully engage the U.S. military and America’s enthusiastic-or-not NATO allies.

Yet World War III chatter seemed difficult to escape.

See it or Skip it: Are ‘1917’ and ‘Just Mercy’ worth seeing?
See it or Skip it: Are ‘1917’ and ‘Just Mercy’ worth seeing?

With coincidental and perfect timing, the film 1917 made its debut in Canada Jan. 10. I was in the theatre for a premier showing.

1917 unfolds in the misery of the First World War, brutally and graphically engaging the audience in a microcosm of sanctioned warfare.

What rules? What human rights?

The visual of crows dining on an abandoned battlefield remains is horrific yet simultaneously necessary as the backdrop to two British soldiers embarking on foot on a suicidal attempt to forewarn 1,600 comrades prepared to march into an ambush and certain death.

I don’t want to spoil your experience watching 1917, should you choose to go, so there will be no further detail from me — other than what you may already expect will leap at you from the screen.

READ MORE: (May 22, 2018) Remains of 3 Canadian WWI soldiers found in France identified through DNA

War is an ugly business. Veterans from the First World War are now gone. Veterans who survived the Second World War are growing fewer, their voices growing weaker.

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While 1917 is no substitute for experiencing the real thing, the film draws its audience as close to the action as is possible. No customary rush for the exits followed for what seemed like many seconds as the final credits began to roll. Emotions may have been too raw for a race to the parking lot.

Somehow, seeing 1917 as this week draws to a conclusion seemed like, finally, a useful message from the big screen.

Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.

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