All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) - IMDb

Like “War and Peace,” “All Quiet on the Western Front” is achieving the distinction of having the most film remakes of novels about war. The original 1930 film based on the Erich Maria Remarque classic by Lewis Milestone is, in my opinion, still the gold standard, not only for its honest portrayal of the horrors of war but also for its depictions of moments of real pathos, like the famous scene where the hand reaching out for the flower draws back lifeless after the sniper’s shot is heard, the interlude where young Germans who are marked out for death spend a precious night with French lasses before returning to battle, and the scene where Paul returns to recount the realities of war to the ultranationalist teacher who had urged his now decimated cohort to battle, only to be called a traitor by the new bunch of boys awaiting recruitment, making him realize that there is no returning home from war and the only home for him now is the battlefield. The key moments of pathos–with the exception of Paul’s monologue in No Man’s Land with the dying French soldier–are excised from this 2022 remake distributed by Netflix by the German director Edward Berger, who devotes most of the film to the brutal realities of the front, down to the different ways one can die in the carnage. Despite these quibbles, this is a very good film, and timely, too as the war in the Ukraine drags on. Why waste your life for no reason at all? This is the question posed by the film, that so many Russian youth are currently answering by escaping Putin’s draft by all possible means.