All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)

All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)

Movie Details

Movie: All Quiet on the Western Front(2022)
Director: Edward Berger
Cast:Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch, and Aaron Hilmer
Genres: War/Action
Release date: 29 September 2022
IMDB Rating: 7.8/10
Language: German, French, and English
Duration: 2h 27m


All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)


There is perhaps no more revered (anti-)war book in the world than Erich Mario’s All Quiet on the Western Front. And quite rightly so. A completely intense and realistic look into the trenches of the First World War, full of terrifying moments that one cannot simply erase from one’s head, provided me with a very dense experience during the days of compulsory reading at school. Adapting such a complex and timeless masterpiece, which has not lost any of its urgency even after almost 100 years, is therefore an almost superhuman task, one that filmmakers (fortunately) only undertake about once every 50 years. However, the Germans, in cooperation with Netflix, dared to do so, and the trailers and enthusiastic foreign reviews promised that both fans of the book and honest war scenes could be satisfied here. But the result remained somewhere halfway, and considering the strength of the material, it’s a damn shame.

At first glance, everything seems to be in the best order. The generous streaming platform once again generously financed the European production, and the result is a truly opulent and impressive war film in many scenes, which, with its visuals and camera work, will especially remind you of 1917 by Sam Mendes. In terms of craftsmanship, there isn’t much to fault about the film. The set, camera, costumes, and soundtrack are top notch and the atmosphere is properly dirty, rough, and uncompromising.

Edward Berger is not afraid to depict the cruelties of war and several scenes or scenes will make you feel uncomfortable. And when it comes to the tumult of war, in which tanks and flamethrowers also appear and a fatal bullet can be waiting for you in every trench, these scenes are truly engaging and impressive. Fans of the genre and cruel war battles will be satisfied in this respect, and the film will serve them with a lot of entertaining moments for the audience. The problem, however, is that under all the craftsmanship and genre glitter, the creators seem to have forgotten the main spirit of the original.

The problem would not be that it is a very loose adaptation and we can forget about several scary scenes from the books. The problem is that the paths that the authors take do not lead anywhere and ignore the main currency of the original. Although Netflix pumps us through one aggravated situation after another, and it manages to convey the image of the futility of war more than effectively. But the book’s masterpiece contains much more powerful motives. In particular, we have the transformation of the main character and his friends and the destruction of an entire generation, its ever-deeper detachment from reality or civilian life, and we must not forget the description of the war machine, in which the victims are “the ones at the top”.

The film either doesn’t work with these themes practically at all, or it does so terribly clumsily and helps itself with genre clichés. The plot line around the peace negotiations is then insanely simplified here and acts essentially extra, as it unnecessarily distracts attention from focusing on Paul’s transformation and experiencing the hell of battle. But it doesn’t matter in the end, because when the director is already interested in the main protagonists, it doesn’t work very well. While in the book the reader is completely immersed in Paul’s suffering, here, as a result of strange screenwriting decisions, the viewer feels practically nothing for the main character, and there is no question of a glimpse into her interior. The soldiers here are just empty shells to which you practically cannot find a way despite the great efforts of the actors, their relationships do not work at all and do not evoke any emotion in you. And the moment

All Quiet on the Western Front is effective and engaging, but under the surface, it is an empty and generic war scene that just piles one horror after another, but the creators are unable to sell it into a properly dense whole. And because the director does not know how to work with emotions and the pace is not good either, the viewer starts to get quite bored in some passages. Yes, in the current (i.e. rather poor) genre competition, the novelty will certainly not be ashamed of itself, and there are still many attributes that can only be praised. Compared to the perfect book image, however, this adaptation limps on both legs and it simply freezes that the authors could not properly exploit the writer’s ideas.

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