Great anti-war movie returns to the big screen
OPENS NOVEMBER 7, CERT U, 138 MINS
Adapted from Erich Maria Remarque’s novel of life in the German trenches during WWI, this 1930 talkie, highly controversial upon its release and unsurprisingly banned in Hitler’s Germany, has lost none of its slow-burn power.
Lewis Milestone’s classic is effectively a series of vignettes detailing the disillusionment and degradation of a group of teenage Germans as they’re lured into fighting for the Fatherland by their jingoistic high-school teacher; battered by their sadistic training sergeant and then cast adrift amid the brutal horrors of the front line.
Bleak and unnerving, this movie is conspicuously devoid of those gung-ho moments that undermine even the most accomplished anti-war flicks. Milestone’s vision of the front is laced with terror, stupidity, drudgery, misery and painful, lingering death. It resonates with a sense of contempt for battle that has never been captured before or since.