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
The film was poorly received at Berlin festival. The German-Russian writer Wladimir Kaminer who played an extra in the film, criticizes how the Russian soldiers are portrayed in the film. See more »
Mass attacks such as the one depicted at the beginning of the film were never utilized in Stalingrad. Open squares such as the one depicted were few and far between, and all the actual fighting was done street-to-street, often with entire battles taking place in a single building. 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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A fascinating film about the strategy of two great snipers
In "Enemy at the Gates," the future of the greatest battle of World War II, would be decided between a young Russian sniper and an aristocratic sharpshooter from Germany sent to kill him Jude Law and Ed Harris sit for hours waiting for the right moment It was a duel set in the siege of Stalingrad Stalingrad was one of the biggest and bloodiest battles of World War II, and in the midst of this huge battle, these two soldiers were hunting each other down
The film opens with the harrowing transport of thousand of Russian soldiers across the Volga River to Stalingrad The recruits were packed onto steamers, barges, whatever they could find to ferry them across the river All that under a deluge of shells, bombs and explosions
By the time Vassili arrives to Stalingrad, the Nazis have a distinct edge, and Soviet morale is at an all-time low
Leading the Russians in their seemingly futile defense is Nikita Kruschev, played by Bob Hoskins The Germans, at that time, were overrunning the place and the Russians were in an appalling state It was the most awful battle of the war
Joseph Fiennes plays Danilov, an idealistic Russian officer who passionately speaks about his belief in getting the troops to turn the grave situation in Stalingrad around He finds the perfect inspiration in Vassili
Rachel Weisz plays a young woman who volunteers to help in the war effort She's literally protecting the people she grew up with When she meets Vassili, he just has a natural intelligence, a natural instinct
Jude Law is remarkable as the young sharpshooter Vassili Zaitsev who conveyed both humanity and intensity There's such a fierce intelligence and liveliness in his eyes He can also be very quiet and internal Vassili found the complexity within the silence and stillness In fact to be a sniper is very much about a man of action through stillness Vassili represented the ultimate hero, the symbol of someone who could instill hope and belief in victory amongst the troops, because his skills as a sniper were unparalleled
Ed Harris played Major Konig, the German sharpshooter sent to hunt down Vassili He knows that Vassili was picking off German officers with some regularity, and was becoming a folk hero for the Russian soldiers as well as the Russian populace... He decided to eliminate him
The casting of Ed Harris opposite Jude Law resulted in a striking visual link between their characters They both have these unbelievably penetrating blue eyes And director Jean-Jacques Annaud began to see the duel through their eyes And one of the first shots of Ed Harris was a close-up of his blue eyes
Annaud painted the tensions very clearly and concentrated purely on the eyes of the Jude Law and Harris and, of course, on their rifles and how they were hidden and what they were doing Basically, the core of his camera is the duel of their eyes, duel of men, duel of snipers, therefore a confrontation of people that scan the surrounding buildings, and try to decipher what they see
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