Saturday 11 March 2023

Movie Review: All Quiet On The Western Front (2022)

Genre: War
Director: Edward Berger
Starring: Felix Kammerer, Daniel Brühl
Running Time: 147 minutes

Synopsis: Two years into the Great War, the trench warfare between Germany and France is extracting a huge human toll. Nevertheless, German teenager Paul (Felix Kammerer) is excited to enlist with his group of friends. At the front, their misconceptions about a quick glorious victory are soon replaced by the grinding agony of death in the muck, but Paul finds a mentor in veteran soldier "Kat" (Albrecht Schuch). As the war drags on, Paul tries to cling to his humanity while politicians and generals dawdle.

What Works Well: This German production adapts the Erich Maria Remarque novel into a gruesome, close-up view of an impassive war machine consuming young men. The combat scenes are harrowing, director Edward Berger using long takes to capture the breathless randomness of some men succumbing while others survive to run another yard. The overarching theme of destructive futility is underlined by generals dispatching troops to their death from the safety of palatial offices. Good work by Felix Kammarer highlights a young man transforming into a battle-hardened soldier, enhanced by excellent makeup, a menacing soundtrack, and expansive cinematography.

What Does Not Work As Well: Although this is part of the point, the battle scenes eventually become wearily repetitive. Paul entering the conflict as a naïve young man is also integral to the story's essence, but this remains cinematically troublesome as he is broadly uninteresting. The running length is overlong, and many scenes would have benefitted from a trim. Apart from Paul and Kat, most of the rest of the soldiers meld into obscurity.

Conclusion: War in sodden trenches is a special kind of hell.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.


  1. I agree that this does become repetitive. In that respect, it's kind of like Black Hawk Down, which never seems to have a respite.

    I agree on the soundtrack; I think it's a masterpiece.

    1. The soundtrack is really something else. Post-Hans Zimmer, if there is such a thing. Anachronic, disturbing, and perfectly suited to the context.


We welcome reader comments about this post.