Film of the day: All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front - Edin Hasanovic

Director Edward Berger was determined to portray the experience of soldiers in the trenches of World War I from a German perspective shorn of glory and heroism while acknowledging how nationalism/militarism consumed the youth of Europe twice in the first half of the 20th century.

Adapted from the classic anti-war novel by Erich Maria Remarque this film perfectly captures the naïve testosterone-powered willingness of young men to sign up for promises of glories on the battlefield.

Pitched into the mud of Compiègne, the glory fails to materialise as the band of enthusiastic boy soldiers who enlisted together are whittled away by the brutal reality of modern warfare.

While this adaptation lacks the depth of character exploration of the 1930 version – it focuses mainly on the character of Paul Baumer (played by Felix Krammerer) – it remains brutal and effective. From the loneliness of isolation under fire to the acceptance of being the forlorn survivor of his peer group as the story moves inexorably to its bloody conclusion.

All Quiet On The Western Front – available now on Netflix.