All Quiet on the Western Front
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

All Quiet on the Western Front brings the horror of war to your home

Director Edward Berger brings a modernized version of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic novel to the screen in Netflix’s All Quiet on the Western Front. Lesley Paterson and Ian Stokell co-write the screenplay with the film’s director. 

Before I delve into my review, I want to point out to viewers that the film is entirely in German with English subtitles. Concurrently like the first adaptation and source material, the film is anti-war. All Quiet on the Western Front tells the gripping story of a young German soldier named Paul on the Western Front of World War I. 

Paul and his comrades experience first-hand how the initial euphoria of war turns into desperation and fear as they fight for their lives and each other in the trenches. As we meet Paul (Felix Kammerer) for the first time in 1917, he’s a fresh-faced, excited 17-year-old who is signing up with forged papers because he doesn’t want to get left behind by his three friends, who believe that enlisting will help them “meet girls” in the future.

Even as he receives this clearly second-hand uniform, he has a sense of uncertainty, and his nerves are well and genuinely jangled by the time his regiment reaches the trenches behind which he will be fighting. In response to the young man flailing around with his gas mask, Paul Bäumer’s superior barks at him, “You won’t survive until dawn,” after witnessing the young man flail around with his mask on and on. To punish Bäumer, he is put on night watch, where he rapidly learns the ropes by discovering them on his own. As Bäumer emerges from under a beam, muddied and slightly bloodied, wondering what on earth he’s gotten himself into, he narrowly avoids that earlier “prophecy” fulfilled, as he emerges from beneath a beam only narrowly avoiding its fulfillment. 

Edward Berger not only brilliantly depicts the physical and psychological toll that what Bäumer witnesses has on him by dividing the story into two time periods, the second being 18 months later during the last weeks of the conflict, he brilliantly juxtaposes flashes of action and violence with quiet contemplation and stillness throughout the film. There is a scene in the movie where Bäumer is trapped in a muddy hole with a soldier on the other side. This scene is both disquieting and entrancing at the same time. In this case, it is about a desperate fight for survival and the profound regret that follows it.

If you follow my writing, you know, in addition to being an Army Brat, that I’m an Air Force vet who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom, so military-themed films hit a little different. I recall seeing the original version of All Quiet on the Western Front during a film studies my junior year of high school. One of our first assignments was to compare and contrast that film with Saving Private Ryan, which was very popular at the time.

I still remember my teacher telling us the book is far more engaging, as the written word is much more emotionally powerful than film may ever be. Nevertheless, for the time it was released, the OG version of All Quiet on the Western Front was very well done. The latest version is about as violent as you would expect from a war film in 2022. At its core, All Quiet on the Western Front succeeds in showing us stirring detail by showing us the consequences and effects of war. 

 

Final Grade: B+

All Quiet on the Western Front is streaming on Netflix tomorrow, 10/28/2022. However, if you can see it on the big screen, I urge you to do so.

Movie Clappers

More reviews to explorer

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

A beloved background character takes center stage in Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home Franklin

Apple TV+ keeps Charles Schultz’s legacy alive in the latest special, Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home Franklin. Raymond S. Persi directed the film, and the script was written by Robb Armstrong, Bryan Schultz, Craig Schultz, and Cornelius Uliano. An origin story of Peanuts’ most beloved characters, the film follows a boy named Franklin and his approach to making new friends.

Kings From Queens validates there is none higher than RUN DMC

Esteemed documentary filmmaker Kirk Fraser utilizes his talents to give flowers to one of Hip Hop’s iconic groups in Kings From Queens: The RUN DMC Story. The tripartite series presents a narrative previously untold about RUN DMC, arguably the most pivotal rap ensemble in music history. Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, and Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell came together on the unassuming streets of Hollis, Queens, before evolving into celebrated bastions of hip-hop culture—a genre once dismissed by critics as merely transitory.

Ted is a hilarious prequel series

Comedic television writer Seth MacFarlane brings one of his screen creations to the small screen in the prequel series Ted. The show is set in 1993; after the first film’s opening sequence and following a linear plot, the series depicts the early life of a sentient teddy bear toy named Ted, who lives with John Bennett (Max Burkholder) and his family in Massachusetts. John’s family members include his dad, Matt (Scott Grimes), mom, Susan (Alana Ubach), and cousin, Blaire (Giorgia Whigham). In the past, MacFarlane has mentioned that he’s always seen the character of Ted as one that’s character-based as opposed to premise-based, so there are numerous angles that he could have taken.