The first adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, arrived in cinemas in 1930. It has been adapted to many different mediums in the 92 years since that film’s release. Later this year, Netflix is offering up a new adaptation that gives All Quiet on the Western Front a modern flair that will play well come Oscar time. But if you’re expecting this film to glorify war, then you’ve come to the wrong place. This isn’t a movie about personal glory or the righteousness of patriotic fervor. This is a horror story, and war is Hell.
Conflict exists in nature, but war is a human invention. And as seen in the trailer above, there is so much death and destruction for so little gain. There are even some truly terrifying moments, including the scene where soldiers with flamethrowers incinerate their counterparts on the other side. It’s far more than young Paul Bäumer (Felix Kammerer) bargained for. In 1917, this German lad lies about his age so he can join his friends on the front lines of World War I. It’s a decision that Paul will come to regret.
Like many of his countrymen, Paul was a true believer in the German cause and he was swept up in a romanticized idea that going off to war would make him a hero. The reality of his situation quickly cures Paul of those delusions, and yet he remains trapped by his choices and forced to bear witness to the pointless deaths of soldiers on both sides of the war.
Albrecht Schuch co-stars in the film as Stanislaus “Kat” Katczinsky, an older veteran who takes Paul under his wing. The movie also features Daniel Brühl as Matthias Erzberger, Moritz Klaus as Frantz Müller, Aaron Hilmer as Albert Kropp, and Edin Hasanovic as Tjaden Stackfleet.
Edward Berger directed the film based on a screenplay he co-wrote with Ian Stokell and Lesley Paterson. Netflix will premiere All Quiet on the Western Front on Friday, October 28.
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