All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front ★★★★★

Score : 9.8/10 ✅

An absolute win on every level. Grasp the horror of war and desolation in veracity. Give emphasis to how stressful and inhuman the condition takes its toll on young soldiers that clearly didn’t know what trench warfare meant. Prioritize the idea of how suicidal and unrealistic the endgame of this ‘war’ really is. Draw attention to a stubborn general that refuses to back off and a German diplomat that tries his best to end the war at all costs. Pretty interesting dynamic while the bodies are piling up on the Western front.

Technically, this is a perfect film. Cinematography? Excellent. The score? Incredibly haunting and effective. Production design? Impeccable. And to be honest, I could go on and on. It’s a very fascinating film and easily one of the best war (or in this case, anti-war) movies of all time. Will join the rank of Saving Private Ryan, 1917, Dunkirk, Black Hawk Down and Apocalypse Now.

There’s something that I want to point out, that I find very interesting, and it’s the music. It’s pretty common to simulate melancholy and darkness in music to elevate a despair sentiment (such as The Batman (2022)). But here in All Quiet on the Western Front, we are dealing with a long-gone war that is now over 100 years old, so I’m pretty fascinated that Volker Bertelmann decided to mix a sense of modernity and surrealism to the score. It gives that perfect feeling of hopelessness and physical exhaustion throughout the film, almost like Paul is endlessly destined to be surrounded by death and misfortune. It comes in full circle when the track called ‘No End’ (when the general speaks to all of the Germans) starts to play and reminds us that there’s basically no easy way out. A clever way of using his memorable score from the opening to that epic yet super tragic ending scene.

What is astonishing is how All Quiet on the Western Front manages to be brutal while avoiding the glorifying trap that war movies tend to take. All things considered, this visceral picture is better be winning some (or a lot) of Oscars because the work here is tremendously remarkable and monumentally powerful.

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