Sunday, May 27, 2012
A movie for a snowy day- a film about the German defeat at Stalingrad. Its a happy little film where you watch the battle unfold through the eyes of several German soldiers.
How is the film?
Depressing, very depressing.
I should start by saying the film is flawed, its too neat and Hollywood. It desperately needs to be gritier and shot in lower light, a scene is the sewers is so bright as to make the flashlight seem ludicous. At timesfilm seem completely unreal, BUT the film is still a major kick in the ass and the heart. Its a film that rakes you over the coals. As the film winds down I wanted to just shut it off and walk away because I knew where it was going and I really didn't want to go there. I continued to watch however out of a duty to the characters and a hope that it would not end the way I thought it would.
Reading several reviews of the film I'm left wondering about some of the critism that was leveled at the film, in particular the fact that it shows the Germans in a positive light. The point of the film is not to glorify the Germans, but show war sucks, and if we didn't like the characters we'd want them all to die. I find the fact that its at times too distancing to be a better arguemnet against the film, than to say it pro German.
The trick with this is to go with it and except it for what it is. Yes its flawed, but its still a powerful film. The course of the film, from leave in Italy after the battles in North Africa into Russia and then into the heart of the winter wasteland is as crushing for the viewers as it is for the characters. War as seen here, is not the neatly followed plans that you see in 99% of other films, its total fear drenched chaos that is completely random where everything that can does go wrong. This chaotic approach to the battle scenes lends much to the film and lends a real sense that most films, even Private Ryan, is missing.
I really like the film and in some ways want to rank it with the best war films, but it just sort of falls short, mosty because I find myself going, "if only..."
Still the film is worth watching since it can't be said enough that war stinks.