All Quiet on the Western Front (2022): Movie Review

All Quiet on the Western Front (2022): Movie Review

By Nicholas Feola

Whenever a classic movie is remade in the modern era, the same phrase seems to stay true each time: “Nothing can top the original.” But can Netflix’s 2022 adaptation of the 1930 film All Quiet on the Western Front break this curse? 

     All Quiet on the Western Front tells the story of Paul, a young soldier who enlists into the German army during the events of World War I. At first, he is expecting war to be honorable and fun, but his views are soon shattered by the harsh reality of war. This point is visually enhanced by the brilliant cinematography. Much of the film is shot in the trenches themselves, which perfectly immerses the viewer in the carnage on screen, as if they are experiencing the war with the characters. Also adding to the immersion is the amazing visuals and sound. The soldiers’ nights are lit up by the brightness of bombs in the distance, and their days are blackened by thick smoke in the sky. The sound of guns being shot is deafening, and dirt and soot mask the characters’ faces. The sound design also adds quality to this film; each scene is improved upon by the brilliant soundtrack. It is very evident that the creators genuinely cared and worked hard on All Quiet on the Western Front. 

     Finally, to answer everyone’s lingering question: How does it compare to the original? Well, despite seeming to be a simple yes or no question, the answer is much more nuanced than it may appear. A negative change is the lack of pre-war character development. In the original movie, the viewer will spend a good amount of time with the main protagonists before they are sent to battle. This allows the viewer to grow attached to the characters, which makes the atrocities they face during the war more impactful. This also shows the change in their views towards nationalism, one of the major themes of the original, which proved how strong propaganda was at the time, and how indoctrinated they were in the idea of glorifying war. A final change that was made was adding a subplot about negations for armistice between the French and the Germans. This weakens the overall plot by taking focus away from the main protagonists. In addition, many of these sub-plot scenes will drag and seem to last for more time than they should. While any positive changes are welcome in a remake, the 2022 remake of All Quiet on the Western Front has changes that hold the film back from being equal with the original. 

     In conclusion, the 2022 remake of All Quiet on the Western Front, while not being very faithful to the original, is still worthy of a viewing due to its gripping story, disturbing imagery, and timeless message. One last thing: the film’s original language is in German; therefore, you will have to make the decision to use subtitles, or have it dubbed. Please, for the love of God, use subtitles.