“All Quiet On The Western Front” By Lewis Milestone Movie Review Samples
Shot in 1930, the war film “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Lewis Milestone is a sad reflection upon the place of a soldier in the political games named “war”. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque who witnessed the harsh reality at the front during the World War I. The touching and cruel motion picture keeps the audience on the edge of its seats for two hours and leaves a lasting impression. The film became the winner for Best Picture Academy Awards.
The contemporary viewer would not be impressed with the film for its visual effects or acting – after almost a hundred years, Hollywood’s war films developed into a separate art form. But what truly amazes the audience in “All Quiet on the Western Front” is the film’s soul. The contemporary war films are more about beautiful battles, a lot of blood and dead people, bravery and glory; but it feels like the humanity is artificial, and the main hero is too romanticized. Here, in the movie shot in 1930, the audience gets to know a real man who went through pain and loss; his feelings are mixed, and he has no right answer for anything.
It seems like the author’s main idea reveals in the middle of the movie during the dialogue of the German soldiers after the square dinner. They have already spent some time in the lines but only now are they reflecting for the first time upon who has put up a war and why they are actually killing the foreign soldiers. If the Germans are fighting the French or the British, they must have done something bad to them. But none of the soldiers have never even met the French or the British. Obviously, the governments must have decided to start a war that but why don’t the politicians fight themselves?
The naïve and sincere utterances of the soldiers are the truth, and the smart contemporary viewer understands well that these young people are simply the food for powder, pawns used by political forces. It is sad that people who run a war may only risk their careers but never lives – the lives would be sacrificed by simple young boys who execute the orders without any idea why they have to do it. The ambitious and cruel governor sits in his office and decides that the best way to get a glory would be to start a war and win it – the decision of one powerful person results in millions of lives. This is what the author hints at.
A very particular episode in the movie is when the main character comes home for several days – he is soon shocked and disgusted with another world he became disaccustomed. This world is safe and full of ignorant people who reflect upon things they have no idea about. They romanticize the war as a beautiful chance to sacrifice the life for the motherhood, and cannot imagine that death is prefaced with fear, pain, and sorrow. It is not romantic at all to see how your best friend loses his leg or dies; it is not fair to kill a foreign soldier who you have never seen before and who has done nothing wrong – he is the same; he fights for his motherhood, and has no idea why the war began.
The film impresses with the thoughts the audience stays with after it is over. It is hard not to reflect upon such things as propaganda of love to the motherhood, and ruthless sending millions of the country’s best young men to death. It seems like the war is just a bloody game of several people who have enough power to give orders and put their plans into effect. Both the novel and the film convey the atmosphere of a hopeless lost generation who became the victims of the circumstance named “war”.
Milestone, Lewis, dir. All Quiet on the Western Front. Universal Pictures, 1930. Film.
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