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All Quiet On The Western Front (2022)

Paul Baumer (Felix Kammerer) is a young man who doesn't want to be left behind when all his friends head off to fight in World War I at the start of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT. He forges his parents' signature and enlists. All the new young recruits are pumped with energy and enthusiasm about fighting for their country. Within mere hours after setting off with their troops, these men realize just how terrible the conditions are for soldiers, and how devastating war is on the psyche. Men die by the thousands, including all of Paul's friends. An older soldier, Kat (Albrecht Schuch), takes him under his wing, but nobody can truly be protected in the trenches and on the battlefields on the disputed western front. Meanwhile, the liberal politician Matthias Erzberger (Daniel Bruhl) works to sign a peace deal with France in time to save some lives.

All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)


Quiet is shot in grey, blue, and brown tones, and painstakingly conveys the soldiers' horrific, near-starvation, mud-caked, boot-soaked conditions. These are compared in overlapping scenes with the exquisite luxuries military leaders are afforded. Soldiers are killed, dismembered, exploded, set on fire, and sent into a last deadly battle just minutes before the armistice. The film has a clear theme of how little the lives of the young men seem to matter to some of the higher-ups, or to the enemy. "Soon Germany will be empty," one character says. End credits tell us almost 17 million people died in World War I, three million battling uselessly over the western front. Scenes capture how single trenches get passed back and forth on the same fought-over land between opposing sides for years, and how the uniforms of the dead are practically yet cynically washed, sewn back up, and handed out to new recruits, with perished soldiers' names on labels ripped out and tossed to the floor.

This is a bombastic work. The intrusive score is certainly a distraction, where the titular quiet really should be the deal of the day. So much of the film is visually powerful but it is also an onslaught of visuals. We do break away from active warfare, but the canvas is so broad, the storytelling pushed so far beyond the individual, that the experiential layer is lost. All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) is certainly overlong, also, with uneven pacing that works against it. Along this runtime, the human condition is not really engaged with by this film, and it does (at points) feel a bit pointless, or derivative. It is yet another visceral display of a much-filmed part of history. This brings a different language to the conversation, and is an efficient portrayal of the horrors we have learned about, but it feels a touch like it is going through the motions. This is propelled by the looser structure, a focus on event as narrative in a way that overwhelms character and conventional structure. 041b061a72


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