March 26, 2023


2022 / 148 min
Review by Tiger the Terrible😸

Back in the day, my 11th grade English teacher made the class read All Quiet on the Western Front. Unlike most of the other ancient artifacts he force-fed us, I really gave this one a go, mainly because I needed to boost my grade to remain on the soccer team. Though I didn’t actually finish the book - thank God for Cliff’s Notes! - I managed to squeak by with a C on my final. However, most of author Erich Maria Remarque’s anti-war themes were lost on me.

Just recently, I approached this latest film adaptation - the first actually produced in Germany - with a similar sense of obligation. This time, it was because the film just racked up a buttload of Oscar nominations and I like to see as many contenders as possible before the Big Night (which is sort-of like the Super Bowl at my house). Decades after trying to plow through the novel, I still associated the title more with impenetrable old literature than a war movie (a genre I generally enjoy). But with nothing to lose than a few hours on Netflix, I dutifully sat down to watch it…

…and was pretty much blown away. Though I still think Everything Everywhere All at Once deserved to sweep the Oscars this year, All Quiet on the Western Front runs a close second. It’s arguably the best war film since Dunkirk and the most harrowing one since Saving Private Ryan. Vivid, cynical and violent, it’s a compelling story punctuated by distressingly believable characters and uniformly great performances. The film is also a technical triumph, with excellent production design, tight editing and ominous music to underscore the grim tone. More importantly - to me, at least - the story’s overall theme is abundantly clear and repeatedly hammered home: the futility and utter insanity of war, especially when dictated by a misguided sense of national pride.

Not bad for a film with a budget that’s a fraction of a typical Hollywood production.

Paul decides he's gonna give his two weeks' notice.
You know Netflix has acquired a truly great film when it actually gets a physical media release. Like such recent Oscar hopefuls as Roma and The Irishman, All Quiet on the Western Front is getting the 4K/Blu-ray treatment. This time, it’s being put out by Capelight Pictures & MPI Media Group, who’ve done right by the film with an excellent transfer, and both formats are free of the compression you typically get with streaming. But even if one isn’t concerned with such trifles, it’s packaged in a sturdy, nicely-designed Digibook and comes with a smattering of interesting bonus features. 

I don’t recall much of the original novel, other than it didn’t really hold my attention, but that was obviously due more to my 17-year-old self than Remarque’s writing. And I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t yet seen the 1930 adaptation, which is widely considered definitive. However, this retelling of a classic story is a gripping, visceral experience in its own right, an epic war film that stands up to repeated viewings, especially in 4K.



MAKING OF FEATURETTE - Running just under 20-minutes, this features numerous cast & crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.

AUDIO COMMENTARY -  By director Edward Gerger.

24 PAGE BOOKLET - Includes an interview with director Edward Berger and 


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