ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT
Starring: Daniel Brühl, Felix Kammerer, Sebastian Hülk, Albrecht Schuch, Edin Hasanovic, Anton von Lucke, Devid Striesow, Joe Weintraub, Luc Feit, and Michael Wittenborn
Director: Edward Berger
All Quiet on the Western Front is a magnificent sight to behold. While its story isn’t anything groundbreaking (but certainly not bad), the film’s technical feats are truly astounding. Thanks to the marvelous direction of Edward Berger, combat has rarely felt this brutal and horrifying on the big screen. The exquisite sound work is much more unique than just gunfire, the score is absolutely wicked, and the cinematography is beyond impressive in the way he shoots both the war scenes and casual banter in the trenches. I genuinely have no notes.
There are no victories, no conquests, and no glory to be found in All Quiet on the Western Front, only the terror and horrifying violence of WWI as seen through the eyes of shaken boys who are not yet adults. Director Edward Berger helms each moment of the Netflix remake with the same polish and engagement possessed by 1917, the film’s most obvious comparative peer, but in his craft lies a much starker reality. While the battle sequences are brilliantly executed…and there are some genuinely impressive one-shots…it’s the film’s somber tone that truly gives it an edge.
All Quiet on the Western Front is among the most visceral, immersive, and beautifully shot war films I’ve ever seen. It is unrelenting and a must-watch for all fans of the genre. However, I said similar things about 1917 in 2019 and Dunkirk in 2017. So, while I stand by those statements for each movie in a vacuum, given the back-to-back-to-back nature of their releases, they all run together in a numbing cacophony that gruffly growls “war is hell.” While I’m not denying that to be true, the message is getting diminishing returns, which, perhaps unfairly, takes All Quiet down a notch. I’ve just had enough.
This film was reviewed by Adriano as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.