All Quiet on the Western Front 2022 Movie Review
February 7, 2023

All Quiet on the Western Front 2022 Movie Review

All Quiet on the Western Front
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All Quiet on the Western Front 2022 Movie Review

I’m truly conflicted: “All Quiet on The Western Front” is a surprisingly stark & cold film upon first watch, capturing the futility of war, loss of youth & corruption of innocence with an unsettling lack of emotion throughout.

It’s something I couldn’t help but notice as I tuned in; usually in historical war films (like Sam Mendes’ “1917” for instance, following events through the eyes of the opposing British side), we’re accustomed to typically witnessing soldier’s actions depicted as valiant & honourable, with a palpable sense of pride & patriotism embedded throughout – in pieces which are made to catalogue their innumerable brave achievements conducted by every-day folk (who, through no fault of their own, found themselves in the trenches), in spite of insurmountable odds comprehensively stacked against them… But here, there’s no dignity in anything that transpires; obstacles aren’t admirably overcome, the ensemble don’t conduct themselves in a way which is befitting of their station, worthy of respect & none of the characters win any semblance of what could honestly be described as “glory”… They’re just young, impressionable fools – drunk on propaganda – who have mindlessly partaken in the unwarranted military occupation of foreign land, where they are obviously not welcome by the inhabitants. Due to this, there’s a void of relatability & moreover, all the team of participants can dream of – once they arrive at the front – or endeavour to guarantee for themselves is survival, not greatness.

However, despite this inability to sympathise being an irksome grievance of mine, in the production’s defense, I suppose that’s actually intentional & rather the whole point (?), since it’s meant to tell the story through the perspective of the vanquished, not the conquerors, reflecting how naive recruits (who’d been fatally misled, in conscripting themselves & their families in the first place) were gradually numbed to their feelings by the constant mental & physical anguish inflicted upon them in a continuous onslaught of pointless offensives (instigated by their generals), once reality had firmly bitten & they’d been collectively disabused of this fantasy – but unfortunately, that noticeable detachment from any of the characters featured results in a somewhat muted response (as a viewer) when they’re incessantly chewed up & spat out by the gratuitous violence – that’s shot in a hauntingly raw, ominous way – they’re repeatedly (& needlessly) thrust in to by the callous, cowardly officers, who arrogantly orchestrate the entire miserable situation that needn’t last a single day longer.

Again, I suppose that only reaffirms the statement the creators are trying to make, wilfully juxtaposing intense sequences of suffering & pain with little sentimentality & ambivalence; the film chronicles how Germany treated (or more accurately, mistreated) its own people, offering up generations of its future citizens on the battlefield as sacrificial lambs, massacred at the altar of a poisonous, nationalistic ideology which had taken root within the governing population; boys – barely men, even some who weren’t yet – were essentially reduced to nothing but disposable, unimportant objects, thoughtlessly discarded & simply replaced in a sadistic game & quest for absolute power (no matter the personal cost or price paid in blood) – an incalculable loss which (even by the time the armistice came in to effect) still wasn’t enough to satiate the tyrannical desires of the few, controlling the many… And the movie does therefore (to its credit) accurately reflect that exact point in its portrayal of the poor cannon fodder by representing them as exactly that, & additionally lenses the apathy of the superiors (who give the indefensible orders) through a perspective of rightful, scornful contempt.

Hence, I can understand the creative intentions (depicting the utter, irredeemable meaninglessness; the wanton, senseless destruction) & the grim inhumanity of it all… Yet after seeing such horrors & heinous cruelties, I guess I felt like I wanted a purpose to everything I’d sat through by the time the credits started rolling – & thought I’d been cheated by the fact that there wasn’t one. On the other hand, like I acknowledge earlier, I assume that’s not accidental – & rather the understandably cynical, bitter & despondent conclusion the narrative decidedly wants the audience to come to by the time it reaches its unsatisfactory denouement; there is no discernible reason that could ever hope to justify the carnage we observe – the savagery that unfolds is simply slaughter for the sheer sake of it & the trauma experienced by all those affected was utterly preventable, had the invaders put aside their vanity & pride & sought to preserve peace which could’ve so effortlessly been maintained.

Plus, it does also show one massive miscalculation on the side of the victors; forcing the Germans in to reluctant submission & backing them in to signing an agreement with terms they couldn’t accept would ultimately entrench resentful animosity that would act as a spark to light the fire of the 2nd World War, only a few decades later etc. Foreshadowing what was to come before anyone could predict the oncoming calamity. Due to this, irrespective of what I think (or more aptly, how little it evoked within me), I must concede that it remains a success, regardless – because the project undoubtedly achieved its goal in a commendably brutal & unflinching manner – & I can’t plausibly surmise any alternative which would’ve resulted in something better.

All Quiet on the Western Front 2022 Movie Review