For over two hours this movie never let up the horror, the pain, the trauma, and hopelessness of war. Here, war as an act of velour and heroic deeds has little place but human tragedy where the best in us is laid to waste and destruction. It compels us to question the validity of war.
Yet here we are, nearly a century since the first world war, when the movie is set, still waging wars, and anxiety over a third world war is rife in the air. This, and history prevails to defy the lessons for us to learn from “All Quiet on the Western Front” by asserting the inevitability of war outbreak from time to time, despite its degradation of the human condition.
Adapted from a novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque, the movie is a first major one for me that shows Germans were human after all, in place of the allied army who often are instead a monstrous depiction. Several scenes are evocative metaphor of these and other concerns in the movie.
The movie has no kind words for decision takers in war rooms and corridors of power where military commanders and politicians are portrayed as detached and insensitive, bordering on open cruelty towards the lads caught in the carnage at the war front while the holders of power decide their fates safely away in opulent settings over wine and delicious meals.
“All Quiet on the Western Front” is a movie that I will certainly get back to again and again. It is a must watch before you make up your mind for war.