All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front ★★★½

At it's best (which is nearly the entire runtime) All Quiet on the Western Front is as brutal and visceral as a war movie is likely to get. The levels of muck these characters live in really coats the movie with a dirtiness and is appropriately unromantic about WWI. I really loved how quickly Paul and his friends become disillusioned. They have barely reached the front lines before realizing this is a massive mistake, but at the same time they're young and naive enough to still believe in the cause. I would have enjoyed maybe a little more set up or backstory with the friends, because I never really felt a bond with or between the young men. Dropping the political events would have given the movie enough time to really fortify all the friendships amongst the soldiers. I think if we had kept complete focus on Paul and the regiment, without any knowledge of the political negotiations, the final moments of battle would have felt even more bleak knowing that it was ultimately unnecessary and futile.

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