Netflix' latest war drama is an impressive German interpretation of the futility of war in 'All Quiet on the Western Front' (TIFF review)
Director Edward Berger ('Patrick Melrose', 'Deutschland ’83') delivers a confrontational rollercoaster of World War I, from the German perspective.
The 1929 book 'All Quiet on the Western Front' was first adapted right after its release by director Lewis Milestone, earning him a Best Director and Best Picture award. But this is a fresh adaptation that shouldn't be seen as a remake.
Reminiscent of '1917' by director Sem Mendes, we follow a young soldier, Paul, who's dropped at the frontline of the war between Germany and France in 1917.
Being young and naive his friends have fallen for the propaganda and volunteered to join their army, expecting to be heralded as heroes when they get to Paris in a few weeks.
Reality isn't anything like they expected of course. And during their battles the front hardly moves anything at all. The immature and inexperienced soldiers are more busy trying to stay alive. Something they can't all succeed in.
Rumored as one of the biggest budget German Netflix movies, this feels like an epic war movie with big locations, gruesome war scenes and overall great cinematography.
Being a German war movie you question wether we should be sympathizing with these characters. But we quickly realize there isn't anything idolizing the war or its soldiers here. This is a story of futility. The well known story of old men sending young guys into the trenches to die.
With the current situation in the world, it's hard not to feel for them just like the young people fighting right now, in a war they never wanted in the first place.
In that regard, the German people should actually be telling this story. A story that shows just how pointless and futile the suffering of these men is. And in this brilliant adaptation, they tell it well.
'All Quiet on the Western Front' premiered at #TIFF22 and will be released on Netflix October 28th.