All Quiet on the Western Front is Exhaustive Oscar Bait

Netflix's new war film is yet another offering of a brutal look back at one of humanity's worst times.

The world has seen a fair amount of World War films from any perspective. By now, the formula is clear-cut. There will be blood, tense battle sequences, a lot of death, a lot of downtimes in between the battles, and a lot of soldiers talking about their wives and kids back home. Netflix’s All Quiet on the Western Front is no different.

 

Another Grisly War Story

There is barely anything new here. There are action sequences, then slow scenes of cheap character building, then another battle full of gore. You’ve seen this movie tens, if not hundreds of times already. One thing that’s for certain though, it’s that critics will eat this movie up and the Oscars may fall for its exterior. All Quiet on the Western Front looks primed to be nominated for plenty of Oscars early next year. That’s just how the Academy works though, as it has fallen prey to this old tactic over and over previously.

The entirety of the two-and-a-half hours is exhaustive. When the movie is not showing your soldier’s heads being split open by bullets, there are plenty of boring scenes where the soldiers are sharing stories about their loved ones as an attempt to connect to the audience, so that when they eventually die you might feel something. You’ve seen this cliché plenty before and if you’re expecting anything new then you are watching the wrong film.

There are some good things about All Quiet on the Western Front as well. Firstly, the novel that the movie is based upon is quite groundbreaking, even if the film is just regurgitating the same old clichés. By default, the story in and of itself is not awful. The cinematography is very good as well. Many camera shots will leave you impressed, and some of the intense battle sequences are truly gritty and they put you in the moment in a horrifying sense. Once again though, not unlike many, many, many others war films you’ve seen before. Fairly recently the movie ‘Fury’ did the whole “bloody and gritty” war representation much better.

 

Message and Reception

The message is also a tired one. It’s deeply anti-war in the sense that it’s showing more than telling. There’s also zero doubt that this film will be Germany’s nomination for Best International Feature Film at the 2023 Oscars. The critics have been raving about it as it currently holds a 94% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. From the moment it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September of 2022, most people have appreciated its strong points of showcasing the brutality of war. Undeniably, there are things that this movie offers that could impress some people who haven’t watched a lot of films in the same vein. But for long-time movie lovers, this film might be a chore to get through.

More so than with most other films, this one depends a lot on who you are as a person in regard to how much you will enjoy it and how much you will get out of it. If you’re a person who can sit through 147 minutes of the worst of what humanity has to offer, while simultaneously knowing that there are way better iterations of this kind of story elsewhere, then you can watch All Quiet on the Western Front right now on Netflix.

 

Photo: NETFLIX

 


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