All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front ★★★★½

The subtle bleakness is all around. I wasn't prepared for war's harshest realities. It was bloody, brutal, but beautifully shot and compelling, giving us a new perspective on the age-old horrors of war.

Obviously, this is not the first film to depict the horrors of war. Unlike most war stories, this one makes no attempt to justify or marginalize either side of the conflict. It also has some truly amazing moments of camaraderie and walks a fine line between humanizing and glorifying its lads. From the start, it's all action and pure terror. Young boys with idealistic views and a sense of adventure quickly discover that reality is very different from what they expected. Millions of people have been killed in vain to satisfy the whims of a few lunatics who will never set foot on a battlefield and will live in relative comfort while ordinary men are subjected to a living hell. Kammerer's heartbreaking central performance holds the film together, particularly the scene in which he confronts the reality of his own actions after stabbing a French soldier to death. But it's not just him; it's a team effort as we get to know the other soldiers he's been thrown into the trenches with. The violence makes you sick, and there were times when I thought I had to stop watching. Explosions, blood, cold, wetness, tanks, flamethrowers, and inhuman suffering (meaningless suffering). My heart hurts so much that I can't stop screaming that it shouldn't have come to this. It's not a particularly enjoyable film to watch, but it serves as a reminder of what blind nationalism and disconnected leadership can lead to. We should watch it because we must never forget what happened on Earth when hell existed.

One of the most realistic films I've seen in years. Yes, it will be difficult for me to watch, but I will be rewarded with one of the most moving anti-war stories of all time. Let this be a message that must be repeated until (hopefully) enough people take it seriously.

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