Saturday, May 28, 2011

Enemy at the Gates

Jean-Jacques Annaud, 2001 (7.8*)
Memorial Day War-athon #3
Enemy at the Gates is a World War II story about the battle of Stalingrad. In the biggest battle of the war, German troops got bogged down in their Russian invasion at this city, and along with Russians, it's estimated that over 2 million troops died in a little over a year, as the war became a long stalemate, while winter tooks it's toll on the Germans (the Russian soldiers were prepared, and wore mink).

The battle became a city battle, block by block, and eventually became nothing more than a war of snipers. Those foolish enough to show their head got a bullet through the helmet. Each side calls on better and better snipers until they are down to the best teachers from each side, two legendary snipers, one German, one Russian. This is based on a true story, in fact, Russian Sergeant Vassili Zaitsev was a real person whose sniper rifle is still an exhibit in a Russian museum.

An excellent cast sells what would have been just another war film. Jude Law and Joseph Fiennes star as rival snipers, Ed Harris is a scary, high-ranking Nazi, and Rachel Weisz is a Red Army sergeant, Tania (a real historical war hero of Russia). Some Russians online say it's historically inaccurate in order to be a more sellable film, that's it's no longer historic information. If you can put that aside, it's a riveting war film, just nothing too deep.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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