Enemy At The Gates

0
0
Subscribe to Jude Law alerts

Facts and Figures

Run time: 131 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th March 2001

Box Office USA: $50.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $97M

Budget: $70M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: Swanford Films, Paramount Pictures, Mandalay Pictures, KC Medien, Reperage, DOS, Little Bird, MP Film Management

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Fresh: 74 Rotten: 63

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: , John D. Schofield

Starring: Jude Law as Vassili Zaitsev, Rachel Weisz as Tania Chernova, Ed Harris as Major König, Joseph Fiennes as Commisar Danilov, Bob Hoskins as Nikita Khrushchev, Ron Perlman as Koulikov, Eva Mattes as Mother Filipov, Gabriel Thomson as Sacha Filipov, Matthias Habich as General Paulus, Alexander Schwan as Young Vassili Zaitsev, Lenn Kudrjawizki as Comrade in Train, Gennadi Vengerov as Russian NCO, Dan van Husen as Political Officer

Enemy At The Gates Movie Review


It's Stalingrad, late 1942. A young Russian sharpshooter is picking off Germans at will, bringing a much-needed lift to a demoralized Soviet army. The impatient Nazis send their top sniper to kill the man. A World War diminishes in scope to a battle of two. With such a promising plot, absolutely ripe for gutsy drama and emotion, why does Enemy at the Gates ultimately fail?

First, and foremost, because of its screenplay. Director Jean-Jacques Annaud (Seven Years in Tibet, The Bear) and partner Alain Godard take a horrific true tale and sap it of its energy, irony, and tension. It starts off impressively enough: Russian soliders are immediately gunned down as they arrive in Stalingrad -- if not by the enemy, then by their own officers, who kill the boys when they retreat in terror. Vassily Zaitsev (Jude Law) becomes an instant hero when he plays dead, and in sniper fashion, shoots a number of unsuspecting Nazis.

That's well-paced, edge-of-your-seat stuff, primarily because we haven't been introduced to Vassily, and don't yet know of his talents. But we soon learn, as does Danilov (Joseph Fiennes), a witness to Vassily's daring actions, who quickly makes him a symbol of Russian pride and propaganda.

The dialogue between Danilov and Vassily rapidly becomes stilted, chest-thumping, men-in-war drivel, aiming for the proud heart of the viewer and ending up shooting itself in the foot. Unfortunately, this carries over into much of the film, and denies some solid actors even half a chance.

That illuminates the second problem: the acting. It's tough to tell where the bad dialogue ends, and the overdone performances begin. Law provides a glimmer of hope, playing Vassily as humble and understated (though with nary a shade of horror). Fiennes is ridiculous as Danilov, giving us too much scowling and way too much feigned pride. And Ed Harris, as the Nazi sniper Koenig, seems to be just going through the motions of an amazingly underwritten part. Most laughable, however, is Bob Hoskins as Khrushchev, bellowing lines like "You've lost half your men!? Well, lose the other half!" Why on Earth are a bunch of Russians speaking with subdued British accents?

The final problem in this analysis: Annaud takes no advantage of the story. We see no parallels, no dichotomy, no irony between Vassily and Koenig. Enemy at the Gates would have gained greatly from some link between the two men, something to make the viewer have to think. Instead, the "relationship" flounders in uncharted territory, as Annaud drags us through scenes that feel just like the ones before. There's even a misplaced romantic triangle somewhere in there (leading, by the way, to a love scene that's one of the few emotional and honest parts of the film).

For its 2:10 running time, Enemy at the Gates sounds stuffed to the gills and looks like an epic, but it ultimately feels empty. You'll be thinking of Saving Private Ryan during this -- and wishing you'd stayed home and watched that on DVD instead.

If however you find yourself faced with the Enemy at the Gates DVD, you'll find a number of extras, including a handful of deleted scenes that provide a little more backstory and add to the irony of the last act. Two making-of shorts are throwaways, but the biggest complaint with this disc is an awful sound design. In order to appeal to speaker enthusiasts, every explosion on this DVD is boosted to about twice the volume it ought to be at. I found myself constantly turning the volume down when the walls started shaking, only to turn it back up 30 seconds later because I couldn't hear the dialogue. Truly annoying. Stalin would have had someone shot.

Enemy on the wall.


Contactmusic

0
0
Subscribe to Jude Law alerts

Comments

Enemy At The Gates Rating

" Weak "

Advertisement

More Jude Law

Laura Marling - Short Movie Video

Laura Marling has now launched the title track for her forthcoming new album 'Short Movie' alongside a colourful animated equine video. The record co-produced by...

Pond - Sitting Up On Our Crane Video

Tame Impala side-project Pond unveil a psychedelic graphics laden video for their new track 'Sitting Up On Our Crane', taken from their forthcoming new album...

Wolf Alice - Giant Peach (Live) Video

Recently nominated for BBC's Sound of 2015, Wolf Alice perform an intimate rendition of their new track 'Giant Peach'. The band are currently working on...

Owl City - Kiss Me Babe, It's Christmas Time (Audio) Video

Getting into the festive spirit is Owl City, whose fun new single 'Kiss Me Babe, It's Christmas Time' has now been made available ahead of...

Advertisement

Wolf Alice - Interview Video

One half of London quartet Wolf Alice discuss their recent tour, their excitement for 2015 and a possible album release. They also unveil their favourite...

The Loft Trailer

Five married friends decide to buy a loft together, and each owned a key, but no one else did. The men use the loft as...

Far From The Madding Crowd Trailer

Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) is a beautiful young, yet poor woman. After saving the life of a young farmer, he falls utterly in love with...

Paul McCartney - The Daily Show Clips Video

Paul McCartney recently unveiled a new single, entitled 'Hope', to go alongside the release of brand new video shooter game 'Destiny'. However, while promoting the...

Advertisement