Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavor to build a village in order to protect themselves and about 1,000 Jewish non-combatants.
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. Written by
In the scene in the printing press when the characters of Vassili and Danilov have an argument, the tears in Jude Law's eyes are genuine. See more »
At the time of banquet honoring Vassili, the Russian anthem was the old "Internationale," which then became the party theme when the new (still familiar to some) Stalin-attributed theme of 1943 became adopted. See more »
[whispering to boy aiming rifle]
I am a stone. I do not move. Very slowly, I put snow in my mouth. Then he won't see my breath. I take my time. I let him come closer. I have only one bullet. I aim at his eye. Very gently, my finger presses on the trigger. I do not tremble. I have no fear. I'm a big boy now. Ready Vassili? Now, Vassili, fire!
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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 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.
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