THE scale of Dunkirk, the visual ambition of Birdman, the emotional impact of Saving Private Ryan. There are many ways to relate Sam Mendes’ 1917 to the long lineage of war films preceding its release this week. None prove quite like an experience of 1917. This is big screen entertainment and must be seen as such.

The film is based on a tale told to Mendes by his grandfather. It chronicles the quest of two British soldiers to deliver warning of an ambush during the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line in the Spring of 1917. George MacKay (Sunshine on Leith) and Dean-Charles Chapman (Game of Thrones) play said duo - Lance Corporal William Schofield and Lance Corporal Tom Blake - with the latter personally implicated by the risk to his own brother’s (Bodyguard’s Richard Madden) life from the impending attack.

By all accounts, 1917 must be seen as a major awards contender. Certainly, the film has already seized top gongs at the Golden Globes.

How so? Beyond its exquisite cast list - Benedict Cumberbatch! Colin Firth! Andrew Scott! - the film’s main attractions are Mendes’ thoroughly engaging directorial approach and the sterling work of cinematographer Roger Deakins (Blade Runner: 2049). In the vein of Hitchcock’s Rope and Iñárritu’s Birdman, 1917 is presented as though all were filmed in one unbroken shot. This cannot be so but the cuts are so expertly disguised that I’ll wager few will spot them on first viewing. Not that spotting cuts will be even remotely on one’s mind on initial exposure to quite so immersive a visceral achievement.

It is impossible for viewers today to come close to an understanding of what it must have been like to have undergone trench warfare. And yet, there’s something about 1917 that suggests its devastating depiction is as close as cinema has ever got. It’s much less sappy than Saving Private Ryan too. Perhaps that’s just me?

One more for this week. On January 16, Skipton Plaza is to broadcast a screening of The Royal Ballet’s breathtaking The Sleeping Beauty.

A dazzling display, this even offers the chance for ballet fans to catch Cats star Francesca Hayward in her natural habitat. Though arguably the best of the lot, Hayward must here play second fiddle to Yasmine Naghdi’s Aurora. She’s pretty splendid too. Not to be missed.