All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front ½

Never have i left a movie feeling such utter defeat and hopelessness. I don’t say this as some way of highlighting the film’s effect, but rather how watching this genuinely causes me to lose hope in movies, those depicting real life tragedies specifically. The fact that something this shockingly devoid of empathy can be made, and be successful, under a major studio like Netflix, saddens me beyond words. It feels like a movie that was made purely to achieve maximum levels of exploitation, as Berger seems unconcerned with backing his characters fighting in the trenches with any personality whatsoever, and relies solely on visual shock techniques to keep the audience entertained. Berger’s subjects feel as if they aren’t even treated as human. Would be characters are reduced to mere bodies and destruction, and serve as faceless casualties in the effort of achieving spectacle to effectively sensationalize this massive tragedy instead of revering it. 

The first scene of the movie made me want to tap out right away, essentially functioning as a highlight reel of horrific events that can happen during war, all given with absolutely no context, and packed into the shortest time frame possible. The scene is clearly meant to grab the audience into the film right away, but everything in it is done so tastelessly that i can’t imagine anyone who isn’t some sicko war glorifier being intrigued by this sequence. I won’t go as far as to say the movie is promoting war, I don’t believe it is, but the way everything is stylized points to a perspective of not treating these events entirely with respect, where a filmmaker feels like they are entitled to alter the tone of real life warfare to fit what they are personally trying to get across with their film and get away with it. This of course is an abhorrent and completely reprehensible approach to take when depicting a destructive event such as this one, and I have personally never seen anything worse than this movie. It’s a pessimistic nothing film which has no reason to exist.

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