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‘All’s Quiet on the Western Front’ is poignant movie

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‘All’s Quiet on the Western Front’ is poignant movie

I want to be sure that I see all the movies before the Academy Awards on March 12.  I didn’t have a chance to see this film before but was able to watch it on Netflix.

“All’s Quiet on the Western Front” should make a pacifist of anyone who watches this poignant movie.  Both of my grandfathers served in World War I.  My paternal grandfather went AWOL to nurse his ailing brother back to health and my maternal grandfather was wounded and received the purple heart.  Watching this film, I kept imagining them living in the blood-soaked trenches where men were forced to defecate, urinate, vomit, eat and sleep 24 hours a day for months on end.

Teenagers Paul Bäumer and his friends Kropp and Müller enlist in the German army, riding a wave of patriotic fervor spurred on by the headmaster at their school. Their enthusiasm for the war quickly dissipates once they face the brutal realities of life in the trenches at the front. Paul’s preconceptions about the enemy and the glory of war soon crumble as his friends and companions die. However, amid the countdown to armistice, Paul and his company are forced to continue fighting until the last minutes of the war, with no purpose other than to satisfy a general’s desire to end the war on a German offensive.

Felix Fammerer stars as Paul Baumer. Aaron Hilmer is Kropp.  Moritz Klaus is Müller. Albrecht Schuch is Kat and Adian Grunewald is Behm. 

The acting is very realistic and touching as all of Paul’s friends die off until he loses his will to live.

The movie was directed by Edward Berger, who was able to make the horrors of war jump off the screen and into your living room.

Berger along with Lesley Paterson and Ian Stokell wrote the screenplay based on the novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque in the 1920s.

The sets are incredible: They put you in dead man’s land where the ground was wet, soaked with the blood of thousands of soldiers killed and wounded. 

It could have been a stronger movie if they would have cut about 20 minutes from the film but as I have said many times, when the director is also the writer, editing flies out the window.

I give “All’s Quiet on the Western Front” 4 ½ stars.

Last week in The Alton Telegraph, a letter to the editor disparaged my reviews especially those of the movies “Tar” and “Talking Women.”  I only have 400 words generally to give my opinion so I don’t go into a lot of details that will bore my readers. I recommend movies based on what I think people will find either interesting, entertaining or thought provoking and want to pay $12 per person to see at the theaters.  

No one will agree with me all the time.  Even Siskel and Ebert didn’t always agree.  I suggest that people choose a reviewer they agree with most of the time.  There are almost a hundred St. Louis reviewers in newspapers, on radio, television, and online.  Choose one of them if you find my reviews repugnant. You won’t hurt my feelings; I get happy when anyone tells me they read my reviews whether they like them or not!  If anyone would like to talk movies with me in detail, please email me and we can chat and I can explain why I wrote what I did.  My email address is [email protected]

Movie critic Mary Cox lives in Wood River and studied film at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has worked in L.A. with various directors and industry professionals.


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