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All Quiet on the Western Front poster

All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)

Paul Baumer and his friends Albert and Muller, egged on by romantic dreams of heroism, voluntarily enlist in the German army. Full of excitement and patriotic fervour, the boys enthusiastically march into a war they believe in. But once on the Western Front, they discover the soul-destroying horror of World War I.
2.5 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
3.5 / 5
MOVIE SCORE
Representation

Incluvie Movie Reviews


Jeremy Lawrence
November 8, 2022
2.5 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
3.5 / 5
MOVIE SCORE

Not So Quiet on the Western Front

War movies have a tendency to valorize and glorify the horrors of combat. It is the unique privilege of the film medium that it possesses the means necessary to create a simulated hellscape and spin a tale of heroism within the grim backdrop for an audience’s entertainment. Usually, this is used to showcase a battle of good versus evil, daring missions executed in the name of honor, brotherhood, moral rectitude, and national pride (think American Sniper, Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, et al.). The genres of “War” and “Action” are nearly inseparable, and as such, they play by similar rules. On the surface, nearly every war film seems to posit that war breeds bravery and that “good” always prevails. In this way, war films propagandize. Not so curiously, the diametric opposition to a movie about war that romanticizes the hellish gamut of trials and tribulations is the anti-war film, in which the same tropes and settings are utilized to deliver a significantly different message. All Quiet on the Western Front, a German-language adaptation of the 1928 novel by Erich Maria Remarche, dehydrates the war film genre of its heroics and injects it with a feeling of total existential futility. While the film is irrefutably a movie about war, its director, Edward Berger, extrapolates the novel’s central anti-war ethos and frames the narrative such that it embodies an antithesis to the glorified heroics depicted in war movies. The film has modernized the source material’s message for a post-Saving Private Ryan/1917/Call of Duty audience. It is all the more relevant for its portrayal of a country’s population of enlistment-aged men being decimated in a war few want and even fewer understand, as they are led to muddy graves by the hubris and false pride of leaders who never step within shelling distance of the frontlines. Paul (Felix Kammerer) is a stand-in for the common German soldier. Though he is nearly indiscernible from his fellow mud-smeared and blood-splattered comrades, he is the vessel through which the film’s anti-war message is conveyed. The film begins serene and optimistic as Paul and his schoolmates fake parental consent signatures to enlist, riding the giddy high of camaraderie as they march to the frontlines with a boyish summer camp enthusiasm and flowers pinned to their chests. Fast forward to 18 months later and the war is not going well for Germany. Paul—having witnessed the fatal mutilation of more than one dear friend—has settled into a complacent disillusionment at a reserves camp alongside his fellow soldiers. As a German diplomatic delegation (led by Daniel Brühl) negotiates the terms for their country’s surrender to France, Paul’s regiment is once again called to the frontlines. While the armistice is meant to save the lives of the troops poised to attack, the addition of this “ticking clock” does little to heighten the sense of urgency in the film (especially when compared to Christopher Nolan’s omnipresent, multi-layered hourglasses in
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Paul Baumer and his friends Albert and Muller, egged on by romantic dreams of heroism, voluntarily enlist in the German army. Full of excitement and patriotic fervour, the boys enthusiastically march into a war they believe in. But once on the Western Front, they discover the soul-destroying horror of World War I.

Rating:R
Genre:War, Drama, Action
Directed By:Edward Berger
Written By:Lesley Paterson, Ian Stokell
In Theaters:10/7/2022
Box Office:

Runtime:147 minutes
Studio:Amusement Park Films, RocketScience, Sliding Down Rainbows Entertainment

Cast