All Quiet on the Western Front Review
History is written by the victors so to watch a film from the point of view of the Germans in WWI was incredibly fascinating, and to see how brutal and honest it was in its depiction of War was heartbreaking but also so incredible to watch.
All Quiet on the Western Front is a German film that follows a young boy called Paul who signed up to join WWI and is shipped off to France with his friends and other comrades to fight. We see from the beginning of the film that war is played down to these boys, they see it as something honourable and amazing and don’t understand the real horror of what they’re about to go through, especially as they’re so young and haven’t really experienced life yet. We even see when Paul first gets his uniform the name of a dead soldier is still sewn into it yet the recruiter lies to Paul about where that uniform came from and how it’s being reused.
In this film we see the frontline of these boys going to war and how it affects them as well as some of the tactics that were used, and even the higher ups in the army who are deliberating with the other side to bring the war to an end. This film ends with a heartbreaking scene where we see one of the captains send the troops off to fight once more just before 11 a.m. to get that final brilliant moment of being able to go home knowing that they gave it their all and weren’t cowards, yet so many men’s lives were lost in these mere 15 minutes because of one person’s pride.
I have a big fascination with war films and most of them do seem to concentrate on World War II, yet WWI is getting more of a look in nowadays especially from films like 1917. This film was fascinating in that it did not hold anything back of how brutal this war really was and how many people’s lives were lost because of it. It shows these boys going off to war happy and excited and then even on day one, one of them is wishing to be sent home and be with his mother again only to be killed. It’s absolutely horrific to imagine what these boys went through and we are so lucky in the land that we live in that we don’t have to suffer the same fates now.
There were so many moments in this film that I did not expect, including the use of flamethrowers against many of these young men. To imagine that, yes if you’re shot you may die quickly if you’re lucky, but to know that you are being set on fire and you have to deal with that pain for minutes on end is absolutely horrifying. There was one very poignant scene where Paul kills one of the the opposing sides by stabbing him and he finds it absolutely shell shocking that he has not only killed this man but is also able to see pictures of his family and know that he will never return to them again. It shows that at the end of the day these boys were boys, they were not robots that would kill on sight, they had feelings and emotions and turmoil inside of them, but in a situation of kill or be killed what more could be done?
I highly recommend this film if you enjoy war stories. It is set in Germany and on their side of the war so it is a very interesting tale of how a losing side deal with the loss and what it meant for them, as well as the fact that it holds nothing back. This film is not for the faint of heart and while I absolutely adore it and would watch it again to show others the masterful skills that was put into creating it, I definitely think no matter how many times you watch it, seeing what happens to these characters that you grow to love will never become easier.
What do you think of All Quiet on the Western Front?
Until next time.