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A group of German infantrymen of the First World War live out their lives in the trenches of France. They find brief entertainment and relief in a village behind the lines, but primarily terror fills their lives as the attacks on and from the French army ebb and flow. One of the men, Karl, goes home on leave only to discover the degradation forced on his family by wartime poverty. He returns to the lines in time to face an enormous attack by French tanks. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
An amazingly realistic war film--among the best I have seen
This movie has an awful lot in common with another film that also debuted in 1930. Both this film and ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT are terrific World War I films that give an awful and realistic view of the war from the perspectives of ordinary German soldiers. As a result, both are also profoundly anti-war films that were later banned by the Nazi government that took power just a few years later. Of the two, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT is a slightly better film because it has an excellent back story (in other words, setting up the characters and giving them some depth). Instead, WESTFRONT 1918 is more like a hidden camera that just shows parts of the war--only towards the very end of WWI. Also, unlike ALL QUIET, this film only once follows one soldier home and shows life outside the battlefield. Mostly, the film is just one battle scene after another after another. Despite seeming a tiny bit out of context because of this, it is still a super effective and moving piece of film. A truly well-made and exceptional film with ultra-gritty realism. It is occasionally tough to watch, as there are corpses everywhere and the action is often up close and very personal.
As I said, this film isn't quite as perfect and profound as ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, though it actually is better than the exceptional French film, J'Accuse or THE EAGLE AND THE HAWK--two other terrific WWI films that emphasize the futility and waste of this stupid war.
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