Netflix recently released the remake of the classic war movie All Quiet On The Western Front and, boy, what a tense and brutal viewing this was.
A group of enthusiastic young men, no more than 17 years old signed up to fight in the war during World War 1. Excited and passionate to defend their country, they’re quickly brought to the horrific realisation of war: they are expendable, they are no more than lambs for the slaughter.
I guess that’s all you need to know about the plot. If you’re comparing this to 1930 original or the book on which it is based, you’ll find it is quite different. But, if you were just to take this film as a stand-alone war movie, it is one of the best in the genre.
The True Meaningless Of War
The fat cats in suits playing with the lives of millions of young men as if it were some insane board game. The young men, barely old enough to shave show true patriotism to their country and believe the propaganda bullshit they are being spoon-fed. Then, the crippling realisation of the horrors and carnage of war. There are no winners, just losers, and death. Then repeat.
The acting here is just off the charts. Some scenes hit really fucking hard. In one scene where a fight breaks out between soldiers. In a frenzied attack, fearing for his life he stabs the other soldier multiple times in the heart with his knife. Both of these kids are like 17-years-old, likely to have never seen violence before in their short lives, having to resort to such acts of brutal violence. We have one soldier in total shock. The other soldier lies dying, gurgling blood and asks for the hand of his enemy so he wouldn’t be alone when he died. In a weird sort of way, they were all each other had. The more I think about that scene, the more it really guts me. It is beyond powerful
I thought the ending was superb.
It was heartbreaking, and bleak but seemed like a truthful retelling of the massacre of so many young, innocent lives. And those who did make it back, after witnessing such atrocities, would they ever be the same again?
The cinematography was also beautiful, implementing a lot of natural daylight into the shots reminding us of movies like the Revenant – stunning! All of this along with some of the most incredible, explosive sound design we’ve ever heard in movies. Watch this one with the sound up, folks!
This makes Sam Mendez’s 1917 look like Peppa Pig. It makes Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge look like Heartbreak High.
All Quiet On The Western Front is the best war experience I have had since watching the South Korean masterpiece, The Brotherhood Of War (Taegukgi). If you haven’t checked out The Brotherhood Of War then I highly recommend that as your next war movie.