The story is primarily based on German writer Erich Maria Remarque’s experience of World War I. A coming-of-age story that centralizes on a group of soldiers that meet the horrendous effect of war. The gory, blood, and the shelling of dead men, burning corpses, and stabbing.  The film has been remade in the 1930s, the 1970s, and now in 2022. Each time, it has been a distinct German production. The gory of men are shot, stabbed, blown up, crushed, and burnt. It’s not a film for everyone. The concept of war is cruel, and the R-rating is clearly worth its while.

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Paul Bäumer grows up quickly once he has finished enlisting in the military and does not really know what’s going to happen to him. Of course, it’s not the best happy film out there. It’s realistic just as it should and violent as it needs to be. The film has succeeded in capturing the anxiety Paul experiences during his journey. Director Edward Berger’s own vision fulfills the expectation of a true, horrifying experience of war will and, with a cinematography that doesn’t scare off the realities and the fight. As this is mainly from Paul’s point of view, it’s entrapping of a brutal world and in the end, Paul is the only one that survives, at least to the moment when he gets killed.

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Felix Kammerer playing Paul does a great job. Even if he’s not the most positive character yet solemnly.  The rest of the cast does just as a great job as Albrecht Schuch and Daniel Brühl feel like misplaced characters in this sea of unknown actors. Brühl is unlike his fellow actors, a major German Hollywood actor and even if his performance is decent, it stands out.  The music fits the drama and elevates the tension enough to make it watchable and not become an annoying addition. What’s most likable is the drumming, teasing something on the move. The film sheds also a light on the political arena and the attention it got in other areas.

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The overall experience is that the film is prolonged but afterward is worth it mostly for the roller-coaster and the insight into how the world at war will treat you. The roughness makes you almost always on the edge, waiting for the next effort or brittleness. The original German actor, speaking German, makes it far more authentic. A modern classic, an effort Netflix, has succeeded with.


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