All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front ★★★

I actually found this quite compelling, and dare I say, worth watching even having just seen the original 1930 adaptation. There are some scenes that hit just as hard as the original, like the famous duel (if you could actually call it a "duel") in the crater, but also quite a few that miss the mark. It still doesn't play down the terrifying situations these soldiers go through. It's appropriately graphic and harrowing. I do feel that the 1930 version is paced better with a proper slow burn and lead up to the horrors of war which really makes it impactful when we get to that point. This version essentially just throws the audience into the deep end.

I would honestly be able to recommend this as a well done war film without reservation would it not be for one thing that constantly annoyed me throughout. The other little differences and shortcomings don't bother me much, but what does is the very immersion breaking, out of place score. Every time I heard the synthetic "Bwaaaa" horns throughout the film during foreboding moments, I couldn't help but roll my eyes. Why immerse the audience in the grime and grisly violence of a period war film to only shatter the immersion with such an out of place musical motif? It's such a strange choice, and saddens me how such a minor thing can absolutely destroy my emotional investment. When dealing with such harrowing topics, I don't like constantly being reminded that this is simply a reenactment, as if the film wants to hammer home its themes, but not too much as to scare anyone. War should be scary, but the curtains had been peeled back just enough for me to see the wires.

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