All Quiet on the Western Front (Edward Berger – 2022) A

Not since Saving Private Ryan I think has a film so powerfully depicted the horrors of war. It’s set in WWI and focuses mostly on a group of very young German cadets. They enlist. They believe they will be in Paris in a few weeks drinking Champagne and hooking up with pretty women. Little do they know that by the end of 2017 or so, the promises of their leadership was all bull shit. They were losing, the western front was mired in a brutal (emphasis on brutal) trench warfare against the French. In four years millions have died that and nothing was gained except for a few hundred yards. Paul Baumer (Felix Kammerer) and his buddies knew none of that when they got thrown into one of these trenches. At the same time we cut to the attempts of the German delegation, on a train somewhere, lead by the mostly reasonable Matthias (Daniel Bruhl) to negotiate a peace and cease fire with the French and alies. Some of the seeds of WWII were planted here, in the horrific terms the allies forced on Germany. This is a horrific and wrenching film. One of the best about the topic that I have seen in a long time.


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