Not every viewer will be willing or able to sit through two and a half hours of epic, bloody, graphically violent war reenactments. But those who do make it through this third film version (and the first in German) of the classic German novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, will be rewarded with a subtly humane tale of friendship, endurance, and the value of human life. The violence serves the story and its message. Director Edward Berger and team have done a jaw-dropping job of choreographing battlefield scenes, shooting them often at eye level and embedded in the trenches, giving the viewer the impression of being in the mix. A disquieting score relies heavily on single, melancholic beats that come and go with the action. Newcomer Kammerer is excellent as the wide-eyed recruit who barely withstands each passing day of tragedy.
Meanwhile, a quietly haunting score occasionally punctuates the visceral rhythms of the German war machine with grinding inevitability. The calm of political office is always shattered by the crackle of machine guns and the screams of terror.
In one scene, Baumer and his friend Tjaden are seen walking on a silent snowy day. As they reach a quiet farm, they sneakily steal a goose, rewarding themselves with a big feast. This scene is heartwarming and shares the true bonds made. Even though there are pockets of positivity like this one, it is drowned out by the overwhelming negativities of war. 781b155fdc