All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front ★★★★½

“What do I know?…I’m a pair of boots with a rifle.”

A battlefield is a place where countless stories are left waiting to be told but there’s no one to hear them. Their memories, their aspirations, not even their names…it’s left behind in the mud. Only a few can truly understand the grasp of that. I know I can’t begin to describe how it feels to be in that situation. But this excellent film is probably the closest I’ve been to feeling even a minutia of that. This film masterfully paints the truly dispiriting realities of war that foils the fantasies sung to the idyllic. The romanticized stories and theatrics deconstructed by the visceral images and a harrowing sensation. For the greater cause, the people on top of the political ladder removed far from the battlefield, for abstract ideals and traditions…these are what thousands of lives cost. And ultimately that cost gravely overshadows any kind of “reward”. Pushing people beyond their limit and belittling them down to tools to be discarded. To that end, it also displays how strong the human spirit is and how keen eyed it can be when looking for a silver lining. It was jarring to see the main plot of Paul and his friends doing everything in their power to survive and the subplot of delegates working to make an armistice to end the war. Both delve into a large spectrum of feelings. Dread, fear, hopelessness, compassion, perseverance, empathy…everything was so visceral to experience and process. On top of all that, the music was phenomenal. It was feathery in the more human moments or stoic in the harder scenes. And the cinematography was unparalleled with the ingenious bleak lighting and stark shadows. Although I listened to the English version, the acting still shines and you can really feel the emotions in the voice acting. Nothing was spared when making this film. Up to the very end, I was utterly enthralled in it all. It has truly left an an impact on me. An aesthetically pleasing film that reminds us of the ugly but necessary truths of war.

Block or Report