All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front ★★★★

All Quiet on the Western Front is the best war film I’ve seen in quite some time, arguably standing alongside 1917 and Hacksaw Ridge as one of the best this decade.

Not often are films made from the German perspective, let alone make you sympathetic towards the soldiers. Yet it’s an approach that worked wonders for me. These men weren’t monsters, simply soldiers under the orders of a deranged man. That’s what makes All Quiet on the Western Front one of the most terrifying depiction of war I’ve seen to date. It’s a bleak, brutal onslaught of death and disparity, humanising soldiers on each front while also painfully capturing the worst of humanity with little to no hope left. Its horrifying cinematography and astonishing sound mixing make it one of the most shockingly realistic depictions of war I’ve seen to date. Felix Kammerer’s magnificent performance lies at the heart of this film as you watch him and his friends go from optimistic, opportunistic youth to gruelling, grieving warriors over the 143 minutes runtime. His performance bares all, creating one of the best performances this year that rightfully should have garnered some acknowledgement this award season.

Nevertheless, Berger’s take on All Quiet on the Western Front is an intense ode to the horrors of war and the despicable actions of those who reign over it. It’s horrifically realistic, emotionally captivating and brutally honest throughout with every daunting minute creating more dread for our characters and its audience. Very few war films have felt as visceral and urgent as this, it's a rattling, immersing experience that never lets up and never lets you forget why we should never start a war. It’s an incredible film and thus, for me, makes All Quiet on the Western Front stand out as one of the best war films I’ve ever seen. Truly astonishing stuff!

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