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Sam Mendes' WWI epic 1917 gets an explosive, high-stakes trailer

“If you fail, it will be a massacre.” No pressure, huh? Such are the stakes of Sam Mendes’ 1917, a World War I drama the Skyfall filmmaker directed with the help of legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins and Dunkirk editor Lee Smith, which is the kind of talent you want for a project of this size.

George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman, the latter you may know as Game Of Thrones’ poor Tommen, star as a pair of British soldiers tasked with braving a war zone to deliver a message that could save 1,600 soldiers, one of whom is the brother of one of our heroes. Along the way, they’ll encounter an impressive gaggle of English luminaries, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Richard Madden, and Colin Firth.

The above trailer is heavy on chaos and loss, forecasting a Dunkirk-like emphasis on unrelenting action. Thomas Newman’s stormy, droning score sounds pretty great, too. Watch it above ahead of the film’s opening this Christmas.

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Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.