All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) Movie Review
This German film set in World War I is indeed extraordinary at the 2023 Oscars this time. Bumareview hasn’t had the chance to review This film was released in 2022 ago on Netflix. So now is the perfect time to see why this film is so extraordinary (besides being phenomenal Everything Everywhere All at Once of course-ed).
All Quiet on the Waterfront (or in German, “Im Westen nichts Neues/ ”Nothing New in the West”-ed) is based on a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran in World War I. The novel describes the physical and mental trauma during war and separation of the life of society that many people feel when they return home from war.
In 1930, the novel was transformed into a film of the same name, directed by Lewis Milestone. The film was later remade in 1979 by Delbert Mann, this time as a television film starring Richard Thomas and Ernest Borgnine; and now, in 2022, this film is being made again with the same title and directed by Edward Berger.
At the Oscar 2023 event which just took place yesterday, All Quiet on the Western Front, won 4 Oscars (out of 9 nominations it received). This film won the Best International Film, Best Cinematography (James Friend), Best Original Score (Volker Bertelmann) and Best Production Design (Christian M. Goldbeck, Ernestine Hipper) categories. Before the 2023 Oscars are held, All Quiet on the Western Front has broken the BAFTA Award record in England by obtaining 7 trophies (out of the 14 nominations he received), ranging from Best Film, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Original Score, and Best non-English Language Film.
All Quiet on the Western Front Synopsis
The film centers on a 17-year-old teenage character, Paul Bäumer (Felix Kammerer) who enlists in the German Imperial Army when World War I has been running for three years. With his friends, Albert Kropp (Aaron Hilmer), Franz Müller (Moritz Klaus), Tjaden (Edin Hasanović) and Ludwig Behm.
They were excited when they heard a patriotic speech by school officials and when they received army uniforms, they did not realize that the uniforms they were wearing belonged to soldiers who had died in previous battles.
Paul and his friends were then stationed in Northern France near La Malmaison. They then befriend Stanislaus “Kat” Katczinsky, played brilliantly by Albrecht Schuch, an older soldier who can serve as their mentor. Their view of the war was immediately shattered during the first night, when they fought on the Western Front and Ludwig was killed instantly by artillery that night.
The endless war has worn out high ranking German official Matthias Erzberger (Daniel Brühl) and met with the German High Command to persuade them to seek an armistice. Erzberger and the German delegation then boarded a train bound for the Compiègne Forest to negotiate an armistice with Marshal Foch (Thibault de Montalembert).
General Friedrichs (Devid Striesow), who opposes armistice talks, orders an attack before French reinforcements arrive. That evening, as Erzberger’s delegation reached Compiègne Forest, Paul’s regiment was sent to the front to prepare to attack the French lines. The German attack on the French front was fierce and Albert died trying to surrender. Paul, who was trapped with the French soldiers, then stabbed him and regretted doing so.
The Erzberger then learned of the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II on 10 November and received instructions from commander-in-chief Paul von Hindenburg to accept Foch’s terms. Paul returns to his unit and sees them celebrating the war coming to an end. However, Tjaden, now paralyzed, fatally stabs himself in the throat with the fork they had brought him.
On November 11, the Erzberger delegation signed an armistice that was to take effect at 11:00 am. Upon learning of the truce, Paul and Kat steal from the farm one last time, but Kat is shot by the farmer’s son and dies before arriving at the hospital. General Friedrichs, wishing to end the war with a German victory, ordered the attack to begin at 10:45 a.m. Paul then killed as many French soldiers as he could before being stabbed through the back with a bayonet seconds before 11:00. Paul stumbles into a ditch and dies with a calm face as he succumbs to his wounds.
All Quiet on the Western Front Movie Review
Like a 1917 movie soulmate
All Quiet on the Waterfront indeed not an ordinary war film that we can compare with other war films, such as Saving Private Ryan for example. This film can be said to be the soul mate of the 1917 film directed by Sam Mendes in 2019. The film, which won three Oscars, also spreads horror on the battlefield and an atmosphere of tension in the trenches that is present extensively. What makes it different is the approach.
In accordance with the original, this film refers to the novel which is originally from Germany. Therefore we will see World War I through the perspective of the soldiers of the German Empire before Kaiser Wilhelm II finally abdicated.
The plot is slow and there is no personal story from the characters
All Quiet on the Waterfront not a war film memorable like Stanley Kubrick’s work through film Paths of Glory (1957), Elem Klimov through his phenomenal work Come and See (1985) or ApocalypseNow (1979) from Francis Ford Coppola. This film is too slow in speaking, and minimalist in describing the main characters, especially Paul’s character.
The good thing is, the war here is not only described as a violent drama by the director spilled onto the canvas of the film, but the “war” is also described through tough negotiations which are described in juxtaposition with Paul’s narration. The war that Paul and his troops carried out was the result of parallel negotiations in different places. Here we will see that there are two opposing camps. Matthias Erzberger, who is also a pacifist, doesn’t want any casualties, and wants the war to end quickly.
In front of him, Marshal Foch put forward tough conditions that Germany could not help but fulfill. Behind him, German officials, especially General Friedrichs, hated the armistice and wanted Germany to emerge victorious in a war that had claimed up to 17 million lives. Isn’t it complicated to see diplomacy that seems endless? And in the end, soldiers like Paul and his friends must become victims of the politics of the ruling government.
The technical elements are extraordinarily charming
For some technical reasons, this film seems to have no equal in all the major film awards. The cinematography is absolutely beautiful as well as gripping and full of horror everywhere. Corpses lay strewn across the battlefield, the atmosphere of the trenches meandering boisterously with soldiers preparing to shoot when opposing tanks appeared above them, what was no less cool was the atmosphere of the battle which was very grand on a large scale. The production design is also very complex and detailed, and scoresit really blends in with the scene. It is only natural that for this category, this film dominates the awards it receives.
All Quiet on the Western Front Conclusion
All Quiet on the Waterfront it’s worth it masterpiece in the film genre. Although it cannot yet match the greatness of the films from the aforementioned filmmakers, this film offers an experience of a war that has been dismantled morally, spiritually, and lasts dramatically until the end. Ultimately as its title, “All Quiet on the Waterfront”, which was brilliantly translated as “All Quiet on the Western Front” in 1929 by the Australian translator Arthur Wheen, is a phrase with terrible irony, “The western front is quiet only for the dead.” A foreboding that is evident when Paul and his friends wear the uniforms of soldiers who died in the previous battle. How ironic isn’t it?