What is a Soldier without War?

All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) is the most authentic adaptation of the 1929 novel. Unlike the 1930 original or 1979 TV movie, the 2022 Netflix film was actually made in Germany with a German cast speaking German. Since most war movies are from an American perspective, you’re forgiven for thinking All Quiet on the Western Front is one of them. I’m always willing to watch a foreign language film, but Netflix does have an automatic English dub that I refused to watch. If any German film was going to make an impact internationally, I’m glad it was something familiar that they could make their own. All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) keeps the emotionally affective theme of young soldiers facing the harsh reality of World War I, but this is more reimagining than remake.

Paul is still the soldier we follow from the frontline and into the trenches, but his entire homelife is left out. German newcomer Felix Kammerer shows a wide range of emotion as the world crumbles around him. We learn a lot more about older comrade Kat and Paul’s enlisted classmates who have different fates compared to the original. We see the trenches, mustard gas, giant rats, flamethrowers, flooding, and other terrible situations that the soldiers had to deal with. Singing and cooking a goose are the biggest moments of levity in the film. The French women are included, but it’s mostly off-screen. Although many scenes are taken out, I’m glad they included Paul trying to save the young French soldier that he stabs. Of course the biggest change was showing the behind the scenes signing of the Armistice that ended the war.

German representative Matthias Erzberger is likely played by Daniel Brühl in order to appeal to a wider audience. The war ending at a precise time makes Paul’s fate even more tragic in a full circle sort of way. All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) truly comes full circle with 9 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound, and Visual Effects. Best International Feature Film was the most obvious win, along with Original Score, Production Design, and Cinematography. WWI is flawlessly recreated through various means and the intense bass score sticks with you. All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) is violent and gritty, but there is beauty in its production.

All Quiet on the Western Front 2022

The 2nd Company in the trenches

8 thoughts on “What is a Soldier without War?

  1. I didn’t know about this remake until last week when the IMDb advertised on their homepage. That it’s a German language film makes it even better as the story is from the German perspective. I give the filmmaking team full kudos for tackling the subject matter as best they could as both wars are still a tough subject for the German people. I sure hope it does well at the Oscars.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A beautiful production, and that 3 note bass score is haunting. Watched this a few days ago with the English Dub, which I kinda regret since it’s less authentic. The story has been on my mind ever since. Read the book in high school, so too long to notice the differences you point out. That’s neat. It deserves some awards tonight. Foreign language for sure. Cinematography probs? Original score.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do hope you decide to watch it in German some day. You’re right about every category it won with the addition of Production Design. Every award was deserving, but I just didn’t think they were going to give Best Picture to Everything Everywhere All at Once. I already reviewed the movie last year, but I did revise it if you’re curious to see what I have to say about it: https://mastermixmovies.wordpress.com/2022/09/04/be-kind/

      Liked by 1 person

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