All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front ★★★★

Maybe my expectations were super low but I was quite suprised at how powerful and moving I found this.
I had figured that it had all been done before; what can they show me that I haven't already seen, or don't already know. And to a certain extent that ended up being true, but to my suprise it didn't really matter.
The filmmaking craft on show here is what elevates it. Every shot, performance, element of sound, editing and production design is so finely honed that you can't help but view and judge it on its own merits.

I also found the straightforward telling of this story refreshing. It never tries to glamorize its depiction of war, but was still able to create unique and striking visuals. I love films like Saving Private Ryan and Dunkirk but they can get caught up in their own bullshit at times. I never felt the director trying to push their own BS on us in this, or favoring making something look cool over grounding it in reality. Every decision here felt like it was made for the sake of story.

I have heard a number of critics talk about 'The Woman King' as a great return to the type of epic films we got more regularly 15+ years ago. I couldn't disagree with them more; that film was the definition of copy and paste Disney / Marvel cinema that continues to pollute our cinemas at the moment (Yes, it was great to see an all female, black war epic directed by a woman, but let's not act like the filmmaking on display there was anything more than average. Hopefully it will be a film that walks so others run). This film on the other hand is exactly what we should be getting more of; epic in scale with a powerful, emotional, poetic core.

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