All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front ★★★★★

“What is a soldier without war?”

This was a genuine masterpiece.

They were just boys, led on by false promises of heroism and glory. It only took a few minutes on-the-ground for one of them crying to want to go home, but there was no way back.

“My son killed in the war. He doesn't feel any honor.”

I was shaking my head at some of the shots in this film — several of them felt like paintings. And while some were horrifying in context, there’d be sincere moments of beauty amidst the chaos. I was enthralled by the artistry, and floored by what the end result was communicating back to me.

The young men — the boys. This was Felix Kammerer’s first film, and wow: he’s marvelous as Paul. While perhaps playing a more “numbed” character than Aleksei Kravchenko’s Flyora in Come and See, you get such a full-range of emotion from him from giddily enlisting for the Army to the brutal, brutal Act III. He was acting acting at times, and I can’t wait to see what he does next. This film asked a lot from him. Albrecht Schuch’s Kat… he brought a tenderness to the film that sometimes lacked it from its characters (where would there be time for tenderness?), but his character has some of the film’s best moments. 

This film’s crew, everyone gets their laurels. I’ve been listening to the score for the past hour, and my lord, it’s something. I won’t even bother to list every component of this movie and use synonyms of “fantastic,” but just take my word for it. I only just wish I saw this in theaters instead to fully appreciate and be consumed by the sensory overload of this film.

I watched Come and See for the first time just a couple weekends ago (on the big-screen!), so to have experienced these two harrowing films in such rapid succession… wow. These are two of the best right here.

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