All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front ★★★★

While I do recall watching the opening scene of the original film set on the school, other details from the film's plot have mostly escaped my memory, making this feel very much like my first time watching any adaptation.

And in a genre that's often guilty of romanticizing its subject, this movie does an excellent job at portraying the exact opposite. As an unapologetic condemnation of war, the film succeeds well in depicting the demoralizing and cruel turns, the thousand and one ways in which life tends to undo these troops, be it on the battlefield, in the wake of avarice and human ego, or for a simple prank. Moreover, it sheds light on the reasons for Germany's animosity toward France, something I had assumed but was only partially aware of before watching this movie.

When it comes to filmmaking, the film is just as impressive. Excellent care was taken with the aesthetics of each shot, and the cinematography as a whole is nothing short of stunning. The lighting work, in particular, is superb. The acting is excellent, and it succeeds in making us care about the protagonists even after they die (something that doesn't often happen until the character in question is killed or otherwise removed from the story). Likewise, the score is fantastic, channeling the spirit of Hans Zimmer's Dunkirk while also sounding like a modern horror score, and there was this also heavy rock riff that, to my ears, didn't quite fit the movie, if I'm being honest.

All in all, although it's not the most relentless and bleak war film ever made, it comes very close thanks to some superb acting and production value that immerse you into the story.

All Quiet on the Western Front
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