A band of Russian soldiers fight to hold a strategic building in their devastated city against a ruthless German army, and in the process become deeply connected to two Russian women who have been living there.
In 1943, in the Russian front, the decorated leader Rolf Steiner is promoted to Sergeant after another successful mission. Meanwhile the upper-class and arrogant Prussian Captain Hauptmann ... See full summary »
During World War II, 12-year old Ivan works as a spy on the eastern front. The small Ivan can cross the German lines unnoticed to collect information. Three Soviet officers try to take care... See full summary »
Many of the criticisms levied at this film by other IMDb users take issue with conventional aspects of film-making - and I agree with them. It's true, Stalingrad does offer little that's new in terms of character, screenplay, visuals. And yes, any war buffs coming to this film in hope of some depiction of the battle's broader strategic context will be disappointed. To those people I recommend Antony Beevor's highly readable book, 'Stalingrad'.
Viewed from a straightforward standpoint, Stalingrad is a pretty compelling war film that is nevertheless a league below US celluloid depictions of the battlefield: when it comes to depicting the fate of the 'poor bloody infantry', the second half of Full Metal Jacket, the first quarter-hour of Saving Private Ryan, or much of Black Hawk Down is infinitely superior. And yes, its ending is something of a wimp-out.
Consider, however, that many people compare Stalingrad to FMJ, Ryan, or BHD at all, however unfavourably, and you see something of the revolution of Vilsmaier's flick. What he achieves is a pretty conventional squad-level war flick - ABOUT THE WEHRMACHT. A film about the German armed forces in WWII which invites sympathy. This, don't underestimate it, is important. At no stage is this a Nazi-apologist film. In fact, its over-willingness to be Nazi-condemnatory is what makes much of its dialogue and scenes weak. But no matter whether you find it tame or not, you do eject this one from the VHS or DVD tray thinking "poor b--tards". As the Holocaust, through the global ceremony of Holocaust Day on January 27 and through the power of global films like Spielberg's Schindler's List, becomes transported away from a specific time and place into a world parable of evil, so we are able to reappraise the role of the German soldier as victim. What attitude you take to this question is your affair - Vilsmaier's film is important for daring to raise it in the first place.
46 of 71 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?