“All Quiet on the Western Front”: A Haunting Portrayal of War’s Brutality


Charlie Ruckle , PaperClip Staff/Writer

The movie “All Quiet on the Western Front” is a visually stunning, yet brutal representation of war that will leave a lasting effect on the viewer. The film has beautiful imagery, with many stunning shots of the French and German countryside, but overall, displays war in a gory and gruesome manner.

Released on Netflix in September 2022, “All Quiet on the Western Front” is the third movie adaptation of the original book written by Erich Maria Remarque.  It is a German made movie that is translated to English and was produced by Amusement Park. 

The movie follows the story of Paul Bäumer, played by Felix Kammerer, and is 19 year old from Germany, who enlists to fight on the Western Front during WWI. He and his friends are thrilled to enlist and be able to fight for their country, as they do not truly know what is involved.

Once Paul and his friends are deployed to the battlefield, their excitement quickly diminishes and is replaced with fear. As Paul and his friends are bombarded with attacks in the trenches, they are ordered to fight back and Paul has to fight to stay alive. Soon, he realizes what war really is, the horrors that are involved and that he is no different from the enemy.

 The soundtrack and sound design to the movie were amazing and set the mood at many points throughout the movie. The songs helped the viewer feel the sense of fear, excitement, or happiness a soldier might have been feeling during those moments. Before every conflict there was a simple three note motif that was played that was truly menacing. The song foreshadowed a violent conflict and a sense of foreboding was felt throughout the song.

The plot of the movie was predictable, but the story and meaning was powerful. The story showed how the youth were being tricked by propaganda and how much war had been glorified, until the new troops arrived and had to face reality. Throughout the movie, the point of view would switch from the view of the soldiers, narrated by Paul, to the view of the generals and leaders from France and Germany discussing peace. These two contrasting angles showed how different the life of a soldier fighting was compared to the men who are making the decisions and giving them the orders. The soldiers really are just expendable pawns, and the men in charge don’t care about them, or make decisions with them in mind.

Some might find the movie too violent, wishing a scene would end or finding themselves looking away. Although this is the point of the movie, as it is meant to be brutally violent to show the reality of war, it may be too much for most. The movie is a little hard to follow as well, due to  the shifting points of view and mayhem across the screen.

If you enjoy watching war movies, then this is definitely a fantastic movie to watch, but if you are not a fan of period military pieces, then this might not be for you. The violence may be overwhelming for many viewers, but the plot and message behind the movie are amazing and definitely worth the watch.