Lest We Forget.
Schuster at the Movies is a fairly tongue-in-cheek blog, but I value the sacrifices of the men and women who fought and died for Canada, and I hope that all Canadians take at least a few minutes to reflect on those sacrifices sometime today.
Synopsis: Hmm….Hitler’s war machine takes on Stalin’s war machine. Have you ever seen a war movie where you didn’t really want to root for either side? Oh wait – that sounds a bit like Revenge of the Sith.
Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “The year is 1942 and the Nazis are cutting a deadly swath through Russia. Under the leadership of Krushchev (Bob Hoskins), the citizens of Stalingrad are mounting a brave resistance, spurred by the exploits of their local hero, Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law).”
What Did I Learn?: “Man will always be a man. There is no new man. We tried so hard to create a society that was equal, where there'd be nothing to envy your neighbour. But there's always something to envy. A smile, a friendship, something you don't have and want to appropriate. In this world, even a Soviet one, there will always be rich and poor. Rich in gifts, poor in gifts. Rich in love, poor in love.”
You Might Like This Movie If: You know what it's like to have a sworn enemy on your front doorstep.
Really?: 1) I had a bit of a hard time believing Vassili and Tanya would have either the time or the energy for a tryst, but even if they did, would they really get it on in the middle of a flophouse, surrounded by sleeping snipers? Couldn’t they find a deserted, bombed-out factory, or something? 2) Ok, Danilov is obviously pissed that Tanya prefers Vassili, but writing a letter to headquarters accusing him of disloyalty to socialism is a good way to get Vassili killed, which seems incredibly ungrateful considering Vassili not only saved his life but made his career. Did he send the letter? This is never made clear.
Rating: Enemy at the Gates is a harrowing, but visually stunning film that is well worth watching – it shows both the incredibly heroism of the Russian people in the defence of their country, and the depravity of Stalin’s communist state. Still, there are a few too many explosions and a bit too much cat-and-mouse/sniper-versus-sniper action between Vassili and Major Konig (interestingly, the two adversaries are never on screen together until the very end) and not enough character development for my taste. 8/10 stars.