Title – All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)
Director – Edward Berger (Jack)
Cast – Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch, Daniel Brühl
Plot – Young German soldier Paul Bäumer (Kammerer) experiences the true horrors of World War 1 as he enters the western front and battles for his survival in a series of trench warfare encounters.
“We’re going home some day…”
Review by Eddie on 07/11/2022
Another adaptation of a famed novel and some equally well-regarded films of the same name, the German made/Netflix backed iteration of Erich Maria Remarque’s book ends up being one of 2022’s most surprisingly impactful films that should be regarded as one of the most effective and well-rounded war films of the modern era.
Directed by German filmmaker Edward Berger, this latest version of All Quiet on the Western Front is a film that’s equally at home in the titular quiet moments found within as it is in its often shocking examination of the horrors of the battlefield, with many moments found within Berger’s film (often courtesy of the exemplary work of cinematographer James Friend) likely to stick long in the memory for those that are able to stomach the journey of young soldier Paul Bäumer on the western fronts of World War 1 in Europe.
Backed by a haunting and untypical score composition from composer Volker Bertelmann, from the moment Berger’s film starts with a no holds barred showcase of trench warfare at its most relentless and bloodthirsty, that moves onto a deceptively deep journey of one soldiers coat finding a new owner, Front rarely lets up across its two and a half hour runtime that covers much ground from the muddy pits of Paul’s various stations or the lavish halls of German manors.
Filled with some of the most intense battle scenes of recent times, a tank and flamethrower segment in the film is the stuff of beautiful nightmares, Front at times offers an unflinching bloodrush but it also thrives in its other components, particularly in the friendship between Paul and his fellow comrade Stanislaus Katczinsky (played effectively by the charismatic Albrecht Schuch) and its standout scenes such as two men sitting side by side on a makeshift lavatory that gives the film a heart and soul that resonates the material in a much more tangible way than other similar films that are more spectacle driven.
In some instances it would’ve been beneficial to Berger’s film to deeper explore the characters we are following throughout this intense journey from Paul and his close companions to Daniel Brühl’s diplomat Matthias Erzberger but the fact these people are ones we don’t have a deep seeded affiliation or connection with matters little when the horrors of the war and the mental and physical effects of them are so memorably explored by Berger.
Continuing on a nice recent trend of original Netflix films being surprisingly effective and polished, it’s a shame in some ways that Front won’t be able to be viewed by audiences in a cinema format but regardless Berger’s film is an intense and unflinching modern take on an age-old story that still resonates to this day.
Final Say –
Far better than even the most positive pundits may have predicted, All Quiet on the Western Front is a top-tier Netflix release the breathes new life into a classic tale, becoming one of the most well-rounded war films of recent times.
4 1/2 shotgun wielding farmers out of 5