Max Ahoy’s review published on Letterboxd:
Like letting one rip into a megaphone.
Imma be honest, when I first watched this (the day it came out) I had no real feelings towards it other than mild appreciation from the most superficial of surface levels and an overwhelming sense of deja vu. Not even after forty-eight hours did it slip through the cracks in my cranium and slither out of my ear canal out into the land of the forgotten and with that I thought the film to be yet another mild vanilla ass piece of bait for award season that the old hermits can bite onto and be wrangled in and as I thought, that prediction has been panning out. So with the season of praising the films from yesteryear on the way I figured I’d go through the ones that snuck past me along with giving the others I did see another viewing, this being one of them. Well I can safely say my feelings towards this film have most certainly altered from last time. I’ve gone from mild tiredness to intense annoyance.
Love isn't even the word I’d use to describe it but the thing I always look for in films that showcase the truly senselessly tragic horrors of war is the humanization of the soldiers. Regular people who’ve been picked, painted and primed to go out on the field and die for a noble cause “for the greater good” and when the side in question is the opposing side of the conflict it makes this humanization of individuals all more compelling. However that to me isn’t the case for the most recent rendition of Remarque’s book as the humanization of anyone is muted down so heavily that everyone may as well be a walking jpeg.
Every scene, every shot, every frame is coated in this air of artificial refinement as though all on screen has been rendered through a curated Netflix A.I. Movie software to get the optimal amount of requirements needed to be considered an award worthy film. Any semblance of heroism is rendered meaningless by the score's overwhelming sense of desperation to convince you that what you are witnessing is indeed a harrowing feat to behold and if not that then to just deafen you to the point of impairment. Any kind of grim or grit is muted and neatly cleansed over as not to make the film look even remotely dirty. Scenes of soldiers being murdered all along the barren wastelands feel as impactful as a single session of C.O.D. Even the admittedly impressive technical prowess at work feels void of any life, only ever desiring to come off as lush and gorgeous as it can to make people watching drop their jaws in awe of how immaculate the sea of dried dirt and blood is. But to me the single worst war wrecking crime this film commits is being just so fuckin boring.
This more than anything feels as though we’re just trudging along through the tired trenches of how horrid war can be and how it renders each and every soul made a part of it into nothing more than a hollow husk of their former selves. And that's it. It has nothing to offer other than the absolute most chicken bone bare minimum of what the events it’s recreating not only do to people around it but to those who were right smack dab in the center of it. Honestly the more I think about this the more frustrated I get, it’s nothing, this film is nothing more than a frustratingly aggravating example of how looks can only get you so far. To put it in simple terms: It’s nothing more than a quiet fart in the wind.
Also yes, I’m fuckin pissed off Decision to Leave didn’t receive a single nomination for anything.