All Quiet On The Western Front is the newest remake to hit the theatres, or in this case, Netflix. I think this is the third cinematic version by my count. It is based on a book written by a German veteran of the Great War, and it follows the depressing and bleak day-to-day life of a German infantryman as he tries to survive the bloodiest war ever fought.
The Netflix take is as bleak and depressing as both the war and the book. Not to say that as a negative of the film. It should be those things. Unlike the idiotic WWI film from a few years ago, 1917, this one gives some reality. There are no clean uniforms in this film. The daily squalor of the war is shown in all its detail. Historical accuracy was given more attention in this one. Uniforms, weapons and conditions.
The film is not a direct adaptation of the book or the last couple of movie versions but it does hit the high points. Or, more like, the low points. The points that stick with you. The famous bomb crater scene with the dying French soldier is in the film, for example, as well as the fate of each character we meet being similar. Things play out differently for most of them but the end point for each is the same.
Now, All Quiet On The Western Front is a war film and it is therefore full of the tropes and clichés of war films. The reason for those tropes and clichés is because they are very real and common things in a real war. Expect all that, because this is no action-entertainment war movie.
It is well shot with some great cinematography. There is some less than perfect CGI and a few things I could gripe about. No real recoil from rifles when fired for instance. Though we do get to see some use of early tanks. The soundtrack has some strange choices for my taste but it doesn’t hurt anything. Its properly sombre and serious and fits, unlike the soundtrack to your typical Italian cannibal movie. It is epic in length so get ready for a long sit. Not a problem for me though, longer the better for any movie for my personal tastes.
Over all it rates high on the tiny list of good movies about The Great War.