The trailer for the remake of All Quiet on the Western Front is very dark.
When it comes to war movies, audiences can often feel like there isn’t a lot that can be done to set one film apart from the other; how many different ways can you portray humans going into battle without beginning to have them all run together? However, every once in a while, a studio takes on the challenge and reaches for new heights in the genre by bringing a compelling story like Mel Gibson‘s We Were Soldiers, masterful cinematography like 1917, or stellar acting like in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk or Andrew Garfield‘s Hacksaw Ridge, to present audiences with a never-before-seen take on the subject matter. Now, Netflix has released an official trailer for their new attempt at contributing to the genre, All Quiet on the Western Front, which looks to be a masterclass on all levels.
There are perspectives of war that many of us never get the misfortune to understand; PTSD-induced anxiety, depression, and panic can cause social ostracization or a disconnect from all those around us. The original author of the original 1929 novel, Erich Maria Remarque, tried to capture those in his literary attempt to show the dangers of blind patriotism and the relation between a devastating loss of life in war and the negligible gains that come from it.
All Quiet on the Western Front and its sequel, 1920’s The Road Back, were among the many books that were burned by the Nazis. Still, Remarque’s book sold 2.5 million copies in 22 languages during the first two years of print and became one of the most famous anti-war works of all time.
The success of the book was parlayed into an Academy Award-winning film of the same name in 1930 starring Louis Wolheim, Lew Ayres, John Wray, Arnold Lucy, and Ben Alexander. On the brink of becoming men, the boys in Paul Bäumer’s class are inspired to join the Army as the new 2nd Company; thanks to an impassioned speech about the glory of serving in the Army and “saving the Fatherland,” given by their Professor Kantorek.
Their romantic delusions are quickly broken during their brief but rigorous training under the abusive Corporal Himmelstoss and the devastating loss of life they face. All Quiet on the Western Front was also adapted into a made-for-tv movie in 1979, starring Richard Thomas and Ernest Borgnine, winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Made for Television and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Film Editing for a Limited Series or Special.
Netflix’s German-language adaptation looks to excel in cinematography and compelling storytelling while it utilizes a bevy of Germany’s best and brightest well-known actors, including a few up-and-coming and veterans. Most fans will recognize one main face, Daniel Brühl, who audiences will remember from his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the primary villain in Captain America: Civil War which pit Captain America (Chris Evans) against Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) against each other
Daniel Brühl reprised the role, but this time as an ally to Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) in the Disney+ series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Giving the film a theater run before it hit the streaming service makes it seem like Netflix believes All Quiet on the Western Front is going to make a splash during awards season.