All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)

A group of friends in Germany are talked into joining the German army during World War I. They soon experience what it’s like to be on the front lines in combat.

Director: Edward Berger

Cast: Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch, Aaron Hilmer, Moritz Klaus, Edin Hasanovic, Daniel Bruhl

MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody war violence and grisly images.

Run Time: 2hr 27min

Fun Fact: Germany’s official submission for Best International Feature Film for the 95th Academy Awards to be taken place in 2023.

I’m a history person in general. Ever since I can remember in school my favorite subject was history. I always had a fascination with learning about the past and the subjects on the world wars were some of the topics I found the most interesting. I think it’s because I can relate to them in a way because like many people, I had grandparents that served in those wars. My great grandfather was a first world war veteran, and his diary of his experiences has survived. I’ve read it and am currently making it into a book, but some of the things that are in the diary I could never imagine how someone would be able to handle the situations that he was in at times.

This leads to the latest adaption of All Quiet on the Western Front. Based off the novel of the same name by Erich Marie Remarque, it shows the experiences of what the German soldier especially Erich Marie Remarque’s experience in the trenches of the first world war. The novel is from the German view of the war as Remarque was a German soldier at that time. As for World War I related material we don’t really see much talking about Germany’s role as the main focus. The story tells the experience of Paul (Felix Kammerer) and his friends. After they graduate from school, they join the German war effort in excitement. Soon they realize that the war isn’t something that anyone should be excited about, and each character starts to lose it in some way. Kammerer is perfectly casted in the role. We see his progression from the start to the finish. Paul goes through some of the worst moments of his life and through his facial features we see it all. Some of the best moments of acting in this film is when the actors don’t speak. When something highly emotional is happening, they rely on there facial expressions and it’s effective.

That bigger subject is the war itself. When push comes to shove people that are participating in the war the normal people fighting in the war are just ordinary people. These people are just doing what higher ups are telling them to do. A perfect example is that the generals and politicians in the film are in safe houses or trains far from the trenches and don’t have to worry about anything. This film is a perfect showing of how war is hell on earth. The visuals in this film are nothing but realistic. This was the war that was supposed to end all wars and the scenes of battle are intense. There is a battle scene that was perfectly shot that it had me on the edge of my seat through the whole thing. The cinematography is top notch through these scenes and through the whole film. There isn’t any shaky camera work and when needed there are wide shots that establish on what is going on at the moment. Visually this is a great looking film. Other than the cinematography the battle fields look realistic, and it looks like we are on a World War I battlefield. The score is a blend of symphony and newer music that brings in tension where needed. There were times when the main theme is playing through the film, I knew something was about to happen soon.

Now this isn’t the only adaption of the source material. There was one made in 1930 and a television version made in 1979. For someone that has read the book, it was interesting to see where they took this one. While the other two versions follow the plot line more closely, this adaptation focuses more on the effect that the war had on people. To me the decision to go this route was a wise choice. This adaption still carries the spirit of the novel one hundred percent.

Overall, the 2022 adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front was a great adaption of the novel. While like most adaptations it has its differences, but it still carries the spirit of the novel. The theme of it is that war is hell on earth, and it shatters those that are a part of it on the frontlines. The battle scenes are perfectly shot to give the viewer that hell on earth experience. It’s intense at the right moments and this film is not for the faint of heart. I would suggest you check it out because it is moving in a way. It’s moving at least to me because I had a great grandfather that fought in the war and reading his experience was exactly what Erich Marie Remarque and what his characters went through as well. The film is on Netflix and there are different versions you can watch. There is an English dub and one in German with subtitles. I tried to watch it in the English dub but decided to go with the German version and it felt more natural that way.

Verdict: Hit

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