1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

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nitin
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#51 Post by nitin » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:22 am

This is basically TwitchTv: the movie. And it is as boring as that sounds (sorry if you like TwitchTv).

All of the award noms are incomprehensible (even the technical ones as while I am sure the one shot visuals were a technical obstacle course, this is far from the best cinematography of the year) but getting one for screenplay is fucking outrageous!

Nasir007
Joined: Sat May 25, 2019 11:58 am

Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#52 Post by Nasir007 » Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:26 pm

Nasir007 wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:54 pm
dvining wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:56 pm
The long takes probably made the editing very simple.
There must be very little in terms of CGI. I assume that there was a whole lot done practically.
The CGI is required at the very least to stitch takes together to make it all seem like a single take. CGI would also be needed to make sure everything is matched between the two takes being stitched together and that the lighting is adjusted and the positions of anything that might have changed etc. etc. So CGI would definitely be needed even with the long takes just due to the format of the movie.
I somehow missed this during the initial nomination announcement but I heard a podcast and just realized this received a VFX oscar nomination. Not that I predicted it but still interesting and shows lots of support for this film - (along with the surprise (and unwarranted) screenplay nomination).

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Toland's Mitchell
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#53 Post by Toland's Mitchell » Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:28 pm

I saw 1917 earlier this week. It was solid, but over-hyped. The camera work, the sound, the acting, the pacing, the suspense...all good stuff. But there's nothing that elevates it to the best of its genre, nor the best of 2019. It's a simple film. It had straightforward story that was easy to follow. There wasn't much characterization. And for a war film, there wasn't that much action. Furthermore, the film wasn't trying to make us think deeply about the nature of war, nor was it trying to educate us about this particular one. The story could have been set during any conflict in human history. And if people watch 1917 to learn something about WWI history, they're not gonna come away with much, except an accurate idea of what the uniforms, weapons, and trenches looked like.

Anyway, I think my main gripe with 1917 was its lack of originality. It seems the filmmakers went down the checklist of common tropes in war films:
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Dangerous mission behind enemy lines, check. One soldier says the mission is suicidal and wants to turn around, check. Helpless woman with a child, check. Somber death scene, check. Gunfight against an enemy sniper, check. Soldier who seemed cowardly and apprehensive rises to the occasion, check.
Basically I felt like I had seen this movie before, just not set in WWI.

Nevertheless, 1917 was a solid film. But I think it's overrated. Let's just call it what it is...Oscar Bait.

nitin
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:49 am

Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#54 Post by nitin » Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:51 pm

I called it TwitchTv: the movie above and while that may sound flippant it really did feel like that time when I saw my friend play COD all those years ago. It was extremely uninteresting.

Gallipoli did the basic premise of this entire film’s narrative in its last 5 minutes but you know actually had a great film and characters around it.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#55 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:50 pm

I didn’t like this either, but it’s also exactly what you expect it to be so mileage will vary. Think of the opening scene of The Revenant a movie I disliked but can’t deny it had some of the most impressive setpieces I’ve seen including that meticulously choreographed opening battle. Then imagine a visual ride at Universal Studios or one of those arcade games where you’re shootings at people or dinosaurs or aliens as the screen shifts your perspective for you once you beat the “stage” and an object comes flying out of nowhere like deus ex machina to destroy the threat or conveniently introduce a new one and signal the next stage. This movie is pretty much that, an artificial rendering of the realities of war that consistently took me out of the movie with its gimmick and eye rolling designed setpieces. The concept is a horrible fit for the material because for all the impressive direction it turns war into a playground of dramatics rather than plant the audience in the chaotic shoes of the solider as is its intent.

I can’t think of a war film that moved me less or that was more obviously a blockbuster Movie, but this is an amusement park ride and if it remained as such it would be okay but with it actually holding a chance of scooping oscars other than technical ones it’ll be the film I root against the hardest come the ceremony.

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aox
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#56 Post by aox » Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:03 pm

It's a visual marvel, well made, but just OK.

I just find that if you are going to take the "continuous" shot angle, that means you are trying to build tension. What you get in the tradeoff is that it is almost impossible to have intimate scenes. Mendes tries to have it both ways.
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For me, he gets away with it in the plane crash scene/stabbing. But the scene with the woman and baby completely deflates any tension or momentum the film was building. Then, our protagonist makes really stupid decisions moving forward.
It's a beautiful film, but it could have been so much more.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#57 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:14 pm

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I thought the plane crash was the worst example of its faults. Like, of course it crashes right where they were standing and they have to run out of the way! That’s exhibit A of the theme park ride comparison and all I could think about was childhood memories of going to Universal Studios, where they did the exact same thing but through the proper medium channel. Maybe it’s more due to how we view film language vs video games but the stabbing took me out of the movie because we followed the main soldier’s perspective. I see how that should make it more authentic as he turns and we with him must figure out what happened, but it just felt like a video game. To give Mendes some credit, I think this has more to do with how we (at least I) associate this kind of surrogate experience through cultural conditioning and I wonder if such a scene will play more honestly in a few years if more filmmakers use this kind of subjective lens for their storytelling (though I hope this is not developed into a trend).

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aox
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#58 Post by aox » Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:18 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:14 pm
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I thought the plane crash was the worst example of its faults. Like, of course it crashes right where they were standing and they have to run out of the way! That’s exhibit A of the theme park ride comparison and all I could think about was childhood memories of going to Universal Studios, where they did the exact same thing but through the proper medium channel. Maybe it’s more due to how we view film language vs video games but the stabbing took me out of the movie because we followed the main soldier’s perspective. I see how that should make it more authentic as he turns and we with him must figure out what happened, but it just felt like a video game. To give Mendes some credit, I think this has more to do with how we (at least I) associate this kind of surrogate experience through cultural conditioning and I wonder if such a scene will play more honestly in a few years if more filmmakers use this kind of subjective lens for their storytelling (though I hope this is not developed into a trend).
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Well, I agree. That whole sequence was pretty ridiculous. I just mean that Mendes still had some tension and momentum capital left with me after that relatively "quiet" scene. All of that was lost though with the mother/child and the milk coincidence. The film just collapsed for me full-stop. I simply didn't care after that point and there was 25 minutes left?

On a separate note, maybe I blinked but why didn't he take his gun when he ran from her presence?

nitin
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#59 Post by nitin » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:43 am

Even from a purely immersion standpoint, Dunkirk (at least in imax) worked much better. I didn’t think that was a particularly great film but it did achieve what it set out to do much better than this.

And can we go back to that that wtf screenplay nomination?

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Toland's Mitchell
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#60 Post by Toland's Mitchell » Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:13 pm

nitin wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:43 am
Even from a purely immersion standpoint, Dunkirk (at least in imax) worked much better. I didn’t think that was a particularly great film but it did achieve what it set out to do much better than this.

And can we go back to that that wtf screenplay nomination?
What is there to say other than "It didn't deserve it"? Uncut Gems deserved it. And Dunkirk was crap.
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In regards to the plane crash/stabbing scene, that didn't take me out of the film. It was totally contrived and theme park-like, but there was nothing wrong with the change in narrative perspective that resulted. I thought that was one of 1917's stronger elements. However, I agree with aox 1917 lost its momentum about 30 minutes later in the film with the French woman and child scene. I was indifferent from that point on, and Benedict Cumberbatch's cheesy line didn't help matters.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#61 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:35 pm

I laughed out loud when
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all the soldiers in the trenches yell at him for jumping over into bombfare to deliver his message and then proceed to all storm into the bombfield themselves not seconds later as he runs and dodges bombs. It was expected at that point but, like a choreographed ballet, the intention behind that scene was 100% Mendes saying, “oooh this will look cool” rather than it being realistic or moving beyond a purely sensory level.

Nasir007
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#62 Post by Nasir007 » Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:59 pm

Toland's Mitchell wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:13 pm
nitin wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:43 am
Even from a purely immersion standpoint, Dunkirk (at least in imax) worked much better. I didn’t think that was a particularly great film but it did achieve what it set out to do much better than this.

And can we go back to that that wtf screenplay nomination?
What is there to say other than "It didn't deserve it"? Uncut Gems deserved it. And Dunkirk was crap.
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In regards to the plane crash/stabbing scene, that didn't take me out of the film. It was totally contrived and theme park-like, but there was nothing wrong with the change in narrative perspective that resulted. I thought that was one of 1917's stronger elements. However, I agree with aox 1917 lost its momentum about 30 minutes later in the film with the French woman and child scene. I was indifferent from that point on, and Benedict Cumberbatch's cheesy line didn't help matters.
I agree Dunkirk was crap. Nauseatingly over-edited like every other Nolan film. Enough with the cross-cutting nonsense.

Anyways - with this film, I had a similar impression while watching Son of Saul. It was all way too choreographed and "played for the camera". Like everything was explicitly staged for the camera which it is - duh - but the artifice of cinema is to hide that and perhaps make it seem like the camera just happened to be there and caught something.

The film is a very feeble example of "long takes" to me. Even films with individual 5-6 minutes takes feel far more impressive. I think the staging and blocking lacked imagination.

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knives
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#63 Post by knives » Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:01 pm

Nasir007 wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:59 pm
but the artifice of cinema is to hide that and perhaps make it seem like the camera just happened to be there and caught something.
Why? I mean is Brecht not allowed to be a filmmaker? Certainly Kiarostami would strongly disagree to give just one example of a director who fought such ideas.

Nasir007
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#64 Post by Nasir007 » Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:54 pm

Within this specific context of an 'experiential' film.

My favorite living filmmaker is Haneke who works very much in the observational bretchian mode and I love it.

But I would be surprised if that is what Mendes wanted here in a scrolling first person blockbuster kind of film. He has used the word immersion to describe this film. It is anything but if it is taking viewers out of that experience.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#65 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:01 pm

I can’t believe that this and Dunkirk are being lumped together and described as “crap” on a discussion forum. I think the Nolan film takes the subjective experience across several spaces and does something intelligent with it through layering the connectivity amongst the separate indicating an interdependence that’s inspiring. Likewise I think the tension is built with more stylistic skill rather than sticking to a one-note gimmick, which allows for more opportunities for suspenseful immersion though mileage will obviously vary. 1917 on the other hand doesn’t seem to be doing or saying anything important as far as I can tell and appears to pit its aims in one shallow dimension across every step of the process, which makes it hard to immerse oneself in aligning with the subjective experience of a character if we don’t have a reason to care or connect.

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tenia
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#66 Post by tenia » Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:25 am

Dunkirk fell extremely gimmicky to me, from the cross-cutting "exercice de style" to the ticking-clock score.
Since its main characters were pretty much all paper thin, that didnt leave much for me to care about.

nitin
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#67 Post by nitin » Wed Jan 22, 2020 5:19 am

therewillbeblus wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:01 pm
I can’t believe that this and Dunkirk are being lumped together and described as “crap” on a discussion forum. I think the Nolan film takes the subjective experience across several spaces and does something intelligent with it through layering the connectivity amongst the separate indicating an interdependence that’s inspiring. Likewise I think the tension is built with more stylistic skill rather than sticking to a one-note gimmick, which allows for more opportunities for suspenseful immersion though mileage will obviously vary. 1917 on the other hand doesn’t seem to be doing or saying anything important as far as I can tell and appears to pit its aims in one shallow dimension across every step of the process, which makes it hard to immerse oneself in aligning with the subjective experience of a character if we don’t have a reason to care or connect.
I can’t believe Son of Saul is being lumped together with 1917!

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therewillbeblus
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#68 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:16 am

tenia wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:25 am
Dunkirk fell extremely gimmicky to me, from the cross-cutting "exercice de style" to the ticking-clock score.
Since its main characters were pretty much all paper thin, that didnt leave much for me to care about.
Yeah I can see that, I still think it has more layered ‘gimmicks’ though I also felt it succeeded in using them along with bits of humility in approach for emotional resonance but everyone’s experience is their own. Especially with Nolan, I’ve found that he tows this weird line between successful emotional power and artificiality that divides audiences- I don’t know if it’s that he makes giant blockbuster types while also wearing his ambitions for creative eccentricity out on his sleeve, but I can appreciate whenever a Nolan film works or fails for me or anyone else because of that very loud presence playing by an odd combination of less safe rules leaves room for a more obvious vulnerability that risks attention to flaws, which I see as the opposite to what Mendes is doing here.

I also think using the word “gimmick” is a slippery slope because one could easily also say that The Thin Red Line uses its own transcendental gimmicks to call attention to be different, or even that Battle of Algiers’s docudrama style, or The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp for its time jumping narrative (hell, Citizen Kane has a bunch) and unfortunately this dismisses the works as nothing except for the “gimmick” they utilizes. Someone could easily call me out for doing the same for 1917 but I honestly could only see it as a movie revolves around a single gimmick as focal point (Dunkirk is more complex for me, even if I concede that these stylistic methods do serve as focal points) and so I’d love to hear a defense. In a way, many films impose gimmicks but my problem with this film is that it rests completely on its trick, and not the use of a gimmick in the first place.

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Toland's Mitchell
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#69 Post by Toland's Mitchell » Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:22 pm

tenia wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:25 am
Dunkirk fell extremely gimmicky to me, from the cross-cutting "exercice de style" to the ticking-clock score.
Since its main characters were pretty much all paper thin, that didnt leave much for me to care about.
Bingo. Weak characterization was Dunkirk's biggest flaw. I never cared for any of the characters. At least in 1917, we're provided a reason to root for our main characters. However, as I've said, the direction and execution of 1917 could've been stronger.

In regard to the their styles, or "gimmicks", they each have their pros and cons. In 1917, the one continuous shot trick felt like a truly immersive experience to some viewers, as plot and characterization unfolded in real time. Other viewers, however, were distracted by it. Instead of following the story, they were looking for where the hidden cuts were, color correction issues, where the focus puller buzzed, etc. It all depends on the viewer.

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Shrew
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#70 Post by Shrew » Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:39 pm

Dunkirk is easily my favorite Nolan movie (only Memento comes close) because I think his gimmicky editing finally works, coming together to create a great climax (with a fantastic closing shot) in a way that Inception never rises to. And since I think Nolan always kind of sucks at establishing characters and getting bogged down in rote backgrounds, I appreciate him paring down everything and embracing full-on anonymity. The stakes come from the environment and incident, not the characters.

Whereas 1917 is still trying to have it both ways. It wants to pare down its characters' histories to focus on the moment but still make them emotionally compelling. Thus it satisfies no one.

I will give credit for 1917 to the opening of the night sequence, at least up until our hero encounters a German soldier and then it turns back into a Call of Duty trailer. The music and cinematography worked for me in that moment, even if we had really just switched modes to Metal Gear Solid.

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tenia
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#71 Post by tenia » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:42 am

therewillbeblus wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:16 am
Yeah I can see that, I still think it has more layered ‘gimmicks’ though I also felt it succeeded in using them along with bits of humility in approach for emotional resonance but everyone’s experience is their own.
For how much I was left unimpressed by Dunkirk and felt the whole stuff to be artificially and superfluously over-complex (hence my use of "gimmicky"), I was pleasingly surprised by how smooth the whole thing is. My GF got a bit lost at some point, and it really surprised me, but I re-explained the thing to her, and it just turned out she missed one thing about how it was going on (I don't recall what exactly) and that was just it. Once explained again, she went "Ooooh OK I get it".
Toland's Mitchell wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:22 pm
Other viewers, however, were distracted by it. Instead of following the story, they were looking for where the hidden cuts were, color correction issues, where the focus puller buzzed, etc. It all depends on the viewer.
From what I read from many viewers, it seemed disappointed people mostly were so because they felt the movie wasn't offering much past its technicality.

nitin
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#72 Post by nitin » Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:56 am

Toland's Mitchell wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:22 pm
tenia wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:25 am
Dunkirk fell extremely gimmicky to me, from the cross-cutting "exercice de style" to the ticking-clock score.
Since its main characters were pretty much all paper thin, that didnt leave much for me to care about.
Bingo. Weak characterization was Dunkirk's biggest flaw. I never cared for any of the characters. At least in 1917, we're provided a reason to root for our main characters. However, as I've said, the direction and execution of 1917 could've been stronger.

In regard to the their styles, or "gimmicks", they each have their pros and cons. In 1917, the one continuous shot trick felt like a truly immersive experience to some viewers, as plot and characterization unfolded in real time. Other viewers, however, were distracted by it. Instead of following the story, they were looking for where the hidden cuts were, color correction issues, where the focus puller buzzed, etc. It all depends on the viewer.
What plot and characterisation actually unfolded?

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#73 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:58 am

The film's a picaresque, so there's tons of plot since the picaresque is a continuous (in theory, endless) series of events, which we see in the film.

Because of the restricted time frame, the characterization is more the unfolding (ie. revealing) than developing type, for instance revealing the main character to be indifferent to accolades, a father, a dedicated friend, etc., as the film plays out. But there is a shift in the main character from cautious and reserved to dedicated and reckless, so we have some basic development.

nitin
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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#74 Post by nitin » Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:29 am

Ok I think I clearly differ in terms of what I term character development. The periodic unspooling of very basic character information does nothing for me when none of it matters in terms of what the film is otherwise trying to do. And I don’t think that’s a function of restricted time frame but purely a result of the technical gimmick chosen and prioritised above all else.

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Re: 1917 (Sam Mendes, 2019)

#75 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:56 am

nitin wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:29 am
Ok I think I clearly differ in terms of what I term character development. The periodic unspooling of very basic character information does nothing for me when none of it matters in terms of what the film is otherwise trying to do. And I don’t think that’s a function of restricted time frame but purely a result of the technical gimmick chosen and prioritised above all else.
How are you defining character development? Character development as I understand it is when a character changes over time, hence the "develop" part.

The "periodic unspooling of very basic character information" is not character development, but character unfolding/revealing, when a character doesn't change but rather we learn more and more things about them.

I mentioned the time restriction favouring unfolding/revealing over development because people generally don't change much in 24 hours.

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