Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front film accomplishes bringing the text to life. With a few minor differences, it is without doubt that this film was incredible. From re watching the film the setting, characters, plot, and story fit all so well. When watching this film we are set on no man’s land and the film achieves every bit of detail that I visualized in my mind when reading Remarque’s text. For example, they would feature familiar places that we read in the text such as, the classroom where Paul and his friends would spend their last days of being youth together. Or the field and river where Paul feels at peace. In addition, the lighting was perfect in certain parts of the film. For example when Paul is in the trench it’s a cloudy and dark day. And the camera actually has a darker lens to make you feel how miserable and dark no man’s land was. Also in the field or river scene we see a brighter lens depicting a happy place for Paul.
Music was another good choice in this film. Although most scenes featured no music when something dramatic occurred you would hear sad music. Sometimes as the soldiers advanced you would hear upbeat victorious kind of music. This was scene in the beginning and artillery strikes. This was to depict the Soldiers advancing in the trenches. In addition, they would play a surprised trumpet sound if a character was shot or found dead. Which left me feeling in suspense or in shock. This also happens after Paul stabs the French soldier. All in all, I think the choice in music was well done. It was helpful and blended in with the soldier’s settings and action.
Next review is the actors and how they depicted them. Just like in the book we are introduced with Paul and his friends. What was cool about this is they would do a close up shot of each character and explain who they were. One thing I love about these actors is the dialogue that they perform. It’s directly from the book at some parts. For example, when we are introduced with the shell shocked soldiers they actually follow the book and show a soldier in the corner rocking hitting his head on a wall. The next soldier tries to leave and he says “I’m just going to step outside.” Just like the book depicted he would try and flee. This would also be seen in the French soldier dying. Paul’s actor really nails the part at making the viewer feel the darkness of this war. He does this by quoting the book and calling the soldier his “Brother” and saying how they had “Mothers.” This would honestly have to be my favorite scene from the movie. It depicts so many emotions and his facial expressions really makes you feel his regret of killing the soldier. The only negative thing I can think about the characters is the fact that they have British accents. Now I know it’s Hollywood but I can’t help but to imagine them as British soldiers. In fact it sometimes made me laugh, a great scene that did in particular was when they introduce Kat who is a wonderful actor. However, his accent is so deep and when he complains about the British I just can’t help but to laugh at the irony of him having a British accent.
The last element about this film was the story. As mentioned above it stuck very close to the book. With using several memorable parts from the book such as, the introduction when Remarque states “this book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession” speech. However, with it staying close to the book it had to divert somewhere. It would divert in the ending when Paul is shot by a sniper after drawing a bird in a tree. Now from the book Paul had died more peacefully. To some this may offend them, due to a darker death. However, I felt like this fit the setting because Paul was for sure he would die on this battlefield and he still did but just in a different way.
If I were to suggest this film to anyone it would definitely require patience, because it’s a long film and some of the battles last for a good while. If you like action you will find no trouble in this because this film has lots of violence and great sound from guns to explosions. I definitely wouldn’t suggest this film to anyone who can’t handle gore. You do see lots of blood and even dark things such as a horse limping and eventually being shot.
All in all, All Quiet on the Western Front is definitely a great film. It’s full of wonderful characters and great dialogue that follows most of the book, and features amazing lighting and sound. It honestly feels like the book was brought to life. If you haven’t already seen this film I highly suggest watching it. It’ll probably make you emotional as well with the death of these characters. So the next time you need an action film. Pick this movie and suggest it to your friends.
Michael D. Mallery