Tuesday, June 10, 2008

All Quiet on the Western Front

Author(s): Connor Campbell
Location: N/A

"All Quiet on the Western Front"

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by Steven Zaillian
Edited by Michael Khan
Cinematography by Janusz Kaminski
Original Score by John Williams
Sound Editing by Gary Rydstrom & Richard Hymns
Sound Mixing by Gary Rydstrom, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson & Ron Judkins

Main Cast

Paul Dano- Paul Baumer
Shia LeBeouf- Albert Kropp
Philip Seymour Hoffman- Stanislaus Katczinsky
Chris Lowell- Leer
Joseph Gordon Levitt- Muller
Emile Hirsch- Tjaden
Wes Bentley- Detering
Peter Sarsgaard- Haie Westhus
Marcia Gay Harden- Maria Baumer (Paul’s Mother)
Vincent D’Onofrio- Peter Baumer (Paul’s Father)
Albert Finney- Himmelstoss
Rene Auberjonois- Kantorek

Tagline: "They lost the war, and so much more"

Synopsis: Germany is fighting the great war and the youth are enlisting in the thousands. Among them, Paul Baumer and his graduating class of 20. Who would they be if they didn’t? Their schoolmaster Kantorek taught them that it was their duty, nothing is greater than fighting for your country. But he had no idea what war really was.

Kropp, the bright one, Leer the ladies’ man, Muller the genius, Tjaden the hungry, Detering the homesick and Westhus the peat digger were among Paul’s closest friends. Their training officer Himmelstoss drilled them endlessly with useless information that they would never use. Then, the time came for them to move out to the western front. There they meet Katczinsky, a 40 year old man who acted as their leader, though he was the same rank. He was very wise and taught the boys how to fight this war. None of them knew what the war was about. They didn’t need to, it was kill or be killed. When the first of their classmates died, they lost faith in their country and became completely indifferent, because if they mourned for the dead, they would fall to pieces.

One by one, Paul’s friends continued to die. Each death he witnessed separated him more & more from his old self. Leer, Muller and Westhus are dead. And during an attack Paul and Albert are seriously injured, and are sent to a catholic hospital. Kropp’s leg is amputated and he has lost all hope and wants to kill himself. If it weren’t for Paul, he would have. Paul, however receives convalescent leave and goes home to meet his family. He gets home and it’s not what he was expecting. He can’t even sit down and have a conversation with his father because he only wants to talk about the war that he knows nothing about. He can only talk to his mother, who desperately needs surgery that they can’t pay for because she is dying of cancer. It is here that Paul realizes he’s been crushed inside.

Paul returns to the front. Everything has fallen apart. They are loosing the war badly. Of the original second infantry, only Katczinsky and Paul are left. Detering tried to run back home and Tjaden was killed in battle. They only have each other. Paul and Kat are injured in an explosion and Paul carries Kat on his back all the way to the nursing station only to find that Kat is dead. Paul is all alone now, by far the oldest in the infantry, at 20.

He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All Quiet on the Western Front. He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come.

What the Press would say:

Millions of people all over the world have read Erich Maria Remarque’s masterpiece “All Quiet on the Western Front” a novel about a group of young soldiers who lose their faith and question everything they’ve ever been taught. Steven Spielberg’s adaptation, as expected, is breathtakingly beautiful. Paul Dano brilliantly plays Paul Baumer in one of the best performances of the year. Many people have raved about him in past performances like Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood, but this is sure to win him an Oscar ®. Spielberg has brilliantly captured Remarque’s sense of indifference and disillusionment has directed Dano and a remarkable supporting cast of stunning actors to potential Oscar gold. Philip Seymour Hoffman leads the supporting cast as Kat, the older wiser soldier who befriends Baumer and is the current frontrunner in the Best Supporting Actor race. With great performances by Shia LeBeouf as Kropp and a small but memorable performance by Marcia Gay Harden as Paul’s dying mother, this cast is one of the best in recent history. Steven Zaillian is also back on the scene with his best script since Schindler’s List. This movie will totally engross you and make you stop and think about what war really is. I give this film a solid ****/****.

Best Picture
Best Director- Steven Spielberg
Best Actor- Paul Dano
Best Supporting Actor- Philip Seymour Hoffman
Best Supporting Actor- Shia LeBeouf
Best Supporting Actress- Marcia Gay Harden
Best Adapted Screenplay- Steven Zaillian
Best Editing- Michael Kahn
Best Cinematography- Janusz Kaminski
Best Original Score by John Williams
Best Sound Editing by Gary Rydstrom & Richard Hymns
Best Sound Mixing by Gary Rydstrom, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson & Ron Judkins

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