This film needs to be watched not because of its story, which is a quite standard “heroic soldier” drama, albeit with some realism (do not expect Svetlana Alexievich)—it needs to be watched due to the stunning cinematography (Roger Deakins). In that respect, it is indeed an achievement in filmmaking and deserves praise. It is the best Sam Mendes‘s film to date.
The trailer above summarizes the film quite poorly since it creates an impression that the film is a pathetic blockbuster, while it is not. Indeed, the scenes, featuring in the trailer, appear out of context: they are perceived differently when you properly watch the film. Moreover, the film is made to appear as two lengthy takes separated by a few hours of “sleep”. (I shall not go into details.)
The ability to tell the story in two hours (while for some 3.5 is barely enough) with only occasional pathos and pretentiousness was appreciated too. I would also note the music in the film (Thomas Newman). Some wonderful ambient pieces it has. They blended with the story perfectly.