All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front ★★★★★

Stunning filmmaking. If there was ever streaming film that deserved a theatrical release on premium format screens, it is this. From the opening gorgeous frame, to the harrowing and chaotic action set-pieces, the claustrophobic trench warfare, and the tank sequences, there is so much to behold. The bombastic score blares in, jarringly at first, with a three note phrase followed by silence. This unresolved phrase is a recurring motif that creates this truly unsettling tension whenever it’s used throughout the film. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a score quite like it, particularly in a war film. It’s a bleak and relentless film experience depicting the Horrors of War and emphasizes the common War is Hell theme we’ve seen in similar films, but there is also a pronounced theme of futility that’s hammered home. Uniforms of the dead are thoroughly scrubbed, name tags removed, and issued to eager new recruits. Minutes before an agreed upon armistice, soldiers march forward to their deaths. Honestly, I was blown away by this film even with the overwhelmingly positive reviews from friends. Thanks, @Daniel Whaley for getting me to bump this up on my watchlist. Check out his review here. If our leads had a bit more characterization, I’d probably be at 5 stars (or if I’d gotten to see this on the big screen).  Highly recommend if you can stomach it for 2.5 hrs. 
Update: ended up moving it to a full 5 out of 5 when doing my end of year ranking. 

2022 Ranked

Degrees of Kevin Bacon: 2
1. Daniel Bruhl
and Brad Pitt in Inglourious Basterds
2. Brad Pitt
and Kevin Bacon in Sleepers

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