- Original title: 1917
- Director: Sam Mendes
- Release year: 2019
- Original language: English
Famously known through the soulful interpretation of Johnny Cash, ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ is a gut-wrenching folk tale of homecoming. As effective as a throat punch, the song became a storytelling accessory when one wishes to express the deep layers of sorrow. Veerle Baetens beautifully brought it to life on Felix Van Groenigen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown as a grieving bluegrass anthem and, in 1917, Sam Mendes places the song in the epicentre of one of the film’s most moving sequences.
Echoing through the forest, the lyrics reach the tired ears of Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay), a young man assigned a ticking bomb: to cross extremely dangerous enemy territory in order to deliver a message that stands between a bloodbath and the survival of 1,600 men. ‘I am a poor wayfaring stranger, traveling through this world of woe. Yet there’s no sickness, toil nor danger in that bright land to which I go’, sings a frightened soldier, one of the many thrown helpless into the burning pits of war.