Enemy at the Gates (2001) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: During the WWII battle of Stalingrad, two snipers, a Russian, and a German, are locked in a battle of wills and marksmanship, while the Russian is boosted to the status of hero by a political official. Runtime: 131 mins Release Date: 15 Mar 2001
Easily the best thing that has come out all year... (by mentalcritic)
It would be all too easy to dismiss Enemy At The Gates as being an attempt to cash in on Saving Private Ryan's success, but in my opinion, it is a very worthy competitor. In fact, it is a better film. I say that primarily because I am sick to death of Americans using World War II as a basis for films that generally amount to little more than propaganda. Of course, Enemy At The Gates comes off as being somewhat fantastic due to its attempt to balance entertainment with historical fact, and it came as a surprise to me to learn that Sergeant Vassili Zaitsev was a real person whose sniper <more>
rifle is still an exhibit in a Russian museum , but this makes it all the more entertaining to watch.A lot of historians have it that the battle of Stalingrad was the most unpleasant one fought during the second World War, and this film's set design and cinematography capture that impeccably. When the Russians are battling the Nazis, you get the idea that if the Nazis didn't kill them, malnutrition, tetanus, scurvy, bubonic plague, or a million other things would. Jude Law and Joseph Fiennes lend authenticity to their roles that makes it even easier to follow them on their personal journey through hell, and Ed Harris is scarily convincing as a high-ranking Nazi. The real surprise here, however, is Rachel Weisz as Sergeant Tania Chernova, and the very heart and soul of the film. When she describes the reasons why she decided to take up a gun and battle the Germans, it all makes so much sense that you just want to buy the poor girl a beer and give her a good warm embrace. Not that such things would erase the scars that her character bears, but one would feel obligated to try.Writer/Director Jean-Jacques Annaud, writer Alain Goddard, and cinematographer Robert Fraisse treat the subject matter with great care towards authenticity and entertainment value. It's very tricky to get these two things in proper sync, but they more than manage here. They also don't rely on any hokey photographic effects to tell the story, simply letting you see everything as clearly as possible, letting your imagination do the rest. Anyone who's read anything credible about the inhuman suffering the Russian soldiers endured during this battle will have no trouble filling in the gaps that the narrative leaves about their living conditions. The blood and gore shown during the battles is also very conducive to the atmosphere. Rather than just expecting you to believe that a solider gets his stomach spread all over half a kilometer of pavement by enemy bullets, they show you so you can get a feel for how bloodthirsty both sides in the confrontation were. Even the sex scene doesn't look out of place here.To make a long story short, this is the first film I've seen in a long, long time that I haven't been able to come up with a list of criticisms for. It is simply excellent, and the 7.1 rating it is currently stuck with does not do it justice. It is easily superior to the likes of Platoon, the equal of more esoteric war films such as Three Kings, and it is miles above the likes of Saving Private Ryan and Pearl Harbour. Vassili Zaitsev would be very happy that his struggle has inspired such a commendable piece of art - it is exactly the sort of thing he and millions of others like him on both sides of the planet were fighting for.
An extrordinary work of raw skill and imagination. (by mhasheider)
A gut-wrenching and impressive hide-and-seek thriller that uses the bloody battle of Stalingrad during the second World War as the clever disguise here for a real battle of courage and determination. The film follows a young and highly talented Russian sniper from the Urals, Vassili Zaitsev Jude Law - "eXistenZ", "The Talented Mr. Ripley" , who gains national fame from the help of Danilov Joesph Fiennes - "Shakespeare in Love" , a propoganda officer and his true love and fellow sniper, Tania Rachael Weisz , who is also flirting with Danilov.However, the <more>
Germans have an ace sniper of their own in Erwin Koning Ed Harris - "Pollock" , a seasoned and out-spoken Major who comes to Stalingrad only to pick off Vassili. And before Koning leaves, his superior officer asks how he'll find Vassili. Koning says, " I'll fix it so he finds me."The love triangle that director Jean-Jacques Annaud and co-writer Alain Godard put in the story shows that the pair took a chance and I'll give them credit for doing it. Plus, the love scene that Law and Weisz have is one of the strangest no offense to either one that I've seen.The film's best moments come when Vassili tries to catch Koning off guard, but the problem is Koning is aware of what Vassili is capable of. I won't say how it's done, but the final confrontation is a genuine nail-bitter.All of the performances here are powerhouse and that includes Bob Hoskins as Nikita Kruschev, a snarling and impatient man and Ron Perlman, who portrays Koulikov, a lieutenant whose teeth are all metal and serves as a guide for Vassili.Robert Frassie "Ronin" handles the movie's photography with care and the appearrence of Stalingrad itself reminded me heavily of the war-torn cities shown in Spielsburg's "Saving Private Ryan" and Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket". Also, James Horner conducts a tender and extremely mournful score that leaves a quiet yet important reminder of how awful war is."ENEMY AT THE GATES" is an extrodinary work of raw skill and imagination.
The futility of war, and what causes it. (by David-240)
I really loved this film. It is one of the best movies about war - what it is like, and what causes it. I know some people find the love story hard to take, but it is there to illustrate how jealousy and envy can lead to irrational acts, hate, and even war.At a time when the world is racing toward armed conflict yet again, this film is a timely reminder of the ultimate futility of war. The opening sequence is one of the most horrific I have ever seen - comparable to that incredible opening scene in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. But unlike "Ryan", this film does not become a flag-waving <more>
one-sided analysis of war. Instead we get an in depth, and very moving, look at the reality of being human in a war situation - whether male or female, German or Russian. And Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz and Ed Harris all give superb performances. I was a bit hard-pressed, though, to believe Bob Hoskins as Krushchev.Jean-Jacques Annaud is a remarkable director, with a strong visual style, and deserves to be recognised as one of the contemporary masters of cinema. Ten out of Ten.
At first glance I must admit I thought "Oh no!" not another war movie trying to cash in on the success that Saving Private Ryan had. However when I viewed this film it turned out to be a great surprise in my mind. Its the story of a man brought to fame in a form of propaganda to help the disintegrating Russian forces keep faith. The boy Law was obviously talented however nearly lost his own faith when poised against his greatest challenge, the prized German sniper. The story line throughout kept me glued to the screen leading up to a wonderful climax.The wonder of friendship and <more>
love also have a great deal in the plot and realistically portrays both in those times of chaos and death. I urge any reader who is doubting this films credentials to swallow their pride and sit down to watch this film. You will not be disapointed in the least.In saying this I would like to just add that I feel there could have been improvement in the accents as sometimes I was finding it hard to grasp that the Germans were fighting the Russians and not the English, but otherwise 10 out of 10.
Imagine the pitch:A game of cat-and-mouse great! A game of cat-and-mouse between two snipers even better! Make it a true story whoa! Make it a war story WHOA! Shoot it on rarely seen actual locations hubba hubba! Cast it with an international A-list excellent! Include perennial Academy-Award nominee Ed Harris superb! Make the antagonist a Nazi should be no problem for an audience to want to see HIS comeuppance!And now ... make the protagonists a Communist sniper and a Communist propaganda officer Law and Fiennes, respectively !This is exactly the task that director <more>
Jean-Jacques Annaud faced with ENEMY AT THE GATES. How does one make a movie where the GOOD guys work for Stalin, one of the most hideous human beings ever to walk the earth?Answer: Start with the script. By making the decision to give Mr. Fiennes and Mr. Law's characters dimensionality through love and friendships, the script is creating characters the audience can relate to. By the simple act of withholding the same information about Mr. Harris' Nazi, the script makes him a more dangerous antagonist who is already cold hearted and cunning he uses a child to his advantage in a much more effective way than your standard movie villain . Throw in a woman who is unwilling to sit on the sidelines as war threatens to determine her fate Weisz , and you have four compelling characters to lead your story.Next comes casting. Casting an actor that the audience inherently has come to trust over the years - Ed Harris - as a Nazi sniper antagonist, adds dimension to the film. All of a sudden, the audience is asked to take sides, not merely shoved one way or the other.Next comes the setting. By choosing to set the film in a place that is cold, unforgiving, and unrelenting on its best days not to mention war adds necessary tension and desperation. Then throw in utterly graphic and realistic war violence. Take all this and wrap it around a true story and you have a combination that should make an audience's stomach tie itself in to knots.Finally, hire a director. Who better for this hard-to-sell story than a man who has made a career out of untellable stories such as THE BEAR and QUEST FOR FIRE?Finally, then ... an undeservingly overlooked film that is certainly better than most everything else on the shelves of your local video store.
I myself was never into war epic movies. Oppressive violence on screen never did seem to impress me much. While "Enemy at the Gate" provides us with the regular amount of blood, gunfires and chopped up men a respectful war flick demands, it also portrays a different kind of battle, one of patience, unshaken stillness and quietness. It's a fascinating duel between sharpshooters Law on the Soviet side and Harris on the German side who was sent out to Stalingrad especially to kill troublemaker Vassili Law . What we witness is a battle through the eyes of the duelers and, <more>
despite of the contrast with the loud environment it never falls into a dull moment. On the contrary. The intensity that the precise eye closeups convey is tangible enough to keep us hooked.Also the cast helps immensely, of course. They certainly had a lot of sensibility casting actors with such remarkable expression on their eyes.Law is altogether fierceness and tenderness. He's absolutely alluring on screen, everything he does is fascinating and you don't wanna miss one single movement. Every gesture, every glance of his eyes has this depth and sincerity that are incredibly captivating.Now Ed Harris is a guy who truly supports a film. He inflicts so much intensity in such a subtle way that even though he's not the main character, you can't imagine the movie without him. And also there're those fusillading blue eyes of his which can be as sharp as any weapon.In the Sovietic side we also have Joseph Finnes, as a regular Russian intellectual, obviously more useful on tactical field than on battle field. A very skilled writer who created the legend of sniper shooter turned into Soviet pride Vassili. Rachel Wiesz represents the women on front. Another strong presence in the film.On the background, astonishingly crafted battle scenes, breathtaking bombings and an incredibly realistic setting. Great cinematography recreates properly the bleakness and desolation of a grim Stalingrad back in 1942.Romance is inevitably provided by the love triangle among Law, Finnes and Weisz'characters apparently the war was not enough to keep them busy . If I had to pick a favorite war movie, this is it. Well done, Annaud.
Everything that Pearl Harbor isn't (by Jonathan-13)
Bursting into my Top Five war movies of all time is this film. A gritty and realistic portrayal of one of the worst battles in the history of war - the 1942-43 armwrestle for the city of Stalingrad. Much has been made of the actors speaking in their native accents, but this seems a trivial complaint - the film is in English after all! More important is the masterful manner of speech of the actors - Bob Hoskins' gutteral exultations as Ukrainian potato farmer Nikita Krushchev; Joseph Fiennes' pompous and proud intonations as the political officer; Jude Law's common man for the <more>
peasant turned soldier; Ed Harris with the clipped and crisp tones of a German officer.This is my pick for the best film of the year so far August . It is truly a cinematic masterpiece, with horrific scenes of the violence of war, brilliant dialog and heart-wrenching tragedy. Expect to be moved.
Tense war drama that centers the viewer in the German invasion of Stalingrad (by geopat2004)
I simply want to weigh in with a very positive response to Enemy at the Gates. Taken as a historical drama rather than an attempt to flawlessly depict an historical incident, this is topnotch entertainment. "Enemy" portrays the conflict between a young Russian sniper played by Law and the German sniper Harris who is sent to kill him during the German attack on Stalingrad during WWII. Apart from a scene which awkwardly caricatures the Russian field commanders and the occasionally distracting accents, the film successfully immerses the viewer in this tense war drama. Appreciate it <more>
it for its tight focus, uncompromising realism, and fine characterizations by the main actors. Research the historical accuracy later, if you must, but don't let it spoil the film.
A fascinating film about the strategy of two great snipers (by Nazi_Fighter_David)
In "Enemy at the Gates," the future of the greatest battle of World War II, would be decided between a young Russian sniper and an aristocratic sharpshooter from Germany sent to kill him Jude Law and Ed Harris sit for hours waiting for the right moment It was a duel set in the siege of Stalingrad Stalingrad was one of the biggest and bloodiest battles of World War II, and in the midst of this huge battle, these two soldiers were hunting each other down The film opens with the harrowing transport of thousand of Russian soldiers across the Volga River to Stalingrad The <more>
recruits were packed onto steamers, barges, whatever they could find to ferry them across the river All that under a deluge of shells, bombs and explosions By the time Vassili arrives to Stalingrad, the Nazis have a distinct edge, and Soviet morale is at an all-time low Leading the Russians in their seemingly futile defense is Nikita Kruschev, played by Bob Hoskins The Germans, at that time, were overrunning the place and the Russians were in an appalling state It was the most awful battle of the war Joseph Fiennes plays Danilov, an idealistic Russian officer who passionately speaks about his belief in getting the troops to turn the grave situation in Stalingrad around He finds the perfect inspiration in Vassili Rachel Weisz plays a young woman who volunteers to help in the war effort She's literally protecting the people she grew up with When she meets Vassili, he just has a natural intelligence, a natural instinct Jude Law is remarkable as the young sharpshooter Vassili Zaitsev who conveyed both humanity and intensity There's such a fierce intelligence and liveliness in his eyes He can also be very quiet and internal Vassili found the complexity within the silence and stillness In fact to be a sniper is very much about a man of action through stillness Vassili represented the ultimate hero, the symbol of someone who could instill hope and belief in victory amongst the troops, because his skills as a sniper were unparalleled Ed Harris played Major Konig, the German sharpshooter sent to hunt down Vassili He knows that Vassili was picking off German officers with some regularity, and was becoming a folk hero for the Russian soldiers as well as the Russian populace... He decided to eliminate him The casting of Ed Harris opposite Jude Law resulted in a striking visual link between their characters They both have these unbelievably penetrating blue eyes And director Jean-Jacques Annaud began to see the duel through their eyes And one of the first shots of Ed Harris was a close-up of his blue eyes Annaud painted the tensions very clearly and concentrated purely on the eyes of the Jude Law and Harris and, of course, on their rifles and how they were hidden and what they were doing Basically, the core of his camera is the duel of their eyes, duel of men, duel of snipers, therefore a confrontation of people that scan the surrounding buildings, and try to decipher what they see