Sad to have a dream you know won’t happen. “Enemy at the Gates” (2001)

directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud
© 2001 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

I was slightly disappointed by this film. I know, not a promising sentence to begin my post with. The thing is that I’m interested in films about World Wars, because they are always, even though fictional, incredibly emotional and thought-provoking. However, what really pushed me to watching “Enemy at the Gates” was the cast. I mean… Joseph Fiennes, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Ed Harris… Yes, please! Too many amazing people on one screen. And maybe that’s why I’m a bit disappointed, because I expected it to be a masterpiece and my new beloved production. Unfortunately, it’s not, but I still believe it’s a well made film with great acting. The script is actually based on a nonfiction book titled “Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad” by William Craig, so what you’ll see in the film has actually happened. I mean, remember it’s cinema, everything’s “brighter and stronger” in here. Still, mind the fact that such people actually lived and went through this hell. Basically, the story is set in 1942 during the Battle of Stalingrad. We follow Vasily Zaitsev (Jude Law), a shepherd, who has been forced to become a soldier in the Red Army. Despite not being well-trained, he’s very smart and skilful, which he proves saving himself and commissar Danilov (Joseph Fiennes). Soon, Zaitsev becomes a hero and an example that all the soldiers should follow. Unfortunately, the German forces find out about this and send Major Erwin König (Ed Harris) to get rid of Zaitsev. And from now on, both of them are trying to kill the other one, which, as you may be guessing, isn’t that easy. And there’s also a love story somewhere there (no, not between Zaitsev and König, just so you know), so it all makes a decent historical-war-drama-romance-action film. I was missing some “wow” moments, which would make me stare at the screen, so that’s why I’m disappointed. Still, it’s a story worth learning about and actors worth looking at.

My rating: 6.5/10
S.

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