Enemy at the Gates
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In the midst of the biggest battle of World War II, two snipers enter a deadly duel within a war for control of Stalingrad. The young shepherd boy from the Urals faces the German nobleman in a battle of wits, courage, iron-like will and the deadliest game of hide-and-seek.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Based on a true story and one of my favorites of the year, this tension-filled movie comes through aces in showing the brute destruction of World War II, the small battles within it that made it the deadliest event in human history and the emotions of love, hate, hope and despair which created its greatest drama. It also gives it a human face to it all by filling the story not only with heroes but also imperfect people. The dramatic tone of the movie is set perfectly by one of the opening scenes in which young Russians are hurried across the Volga and up a hill where their choice is either to face the Germans unarmed or to retreat to a hail of their own countrymenís bullets.
One of the brightest young actors, Jude Law is sniper Vassili Zaitsev, Russiaís new hero and the one whose burden it is to lead Russia to victory over the Nazi invader. With a star-studded cast including Joseph Fiennes (Danilov) and Rachel Weisz (Rachel), the Brits truly come through convincingly as the beleaguered defenders of the pile of ruins that Stalingrad had become. Facing his greatest enemy yet, Vassili carries the hopes of Russia with him through the debris as he hunts down and is hunted in turn by Major Konig (Harris), Germanyís best sharpshooter. As they stare down their scopes waiting for the tiniest clue, one cannot help but be on the edge of their seat waiting with them, not moving, barely breathing and happy to be in their living room.
Aside from the usual theatrical trailer (which is fantastic), the DVD features many deleted scenes of pretty good quality and of which at least half make you wonder why they didnít appear in the movie. One of them in particular, explains how one of the snipers, from one scene to another is made prisoner by the Germans, something I questioned while watching the film. You also get a "behind-the-scenes" featurette with some decent interviews and a whole section of cast-and-crew interviews with the director, Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes and the ever-stunning Rachel Weisz. Nothing really special, but they do well in not overburdening a sober story with banalities such as where they set up the props and other things that contribute little.
Great movie and a must-buy for war movie buffs. The movie is solid and has very good re-watch value that doesnít dim the tension you felt the first time you saw it. The extras are nothing to write home about but they do offer some interesting insight in the prevailing mood on the set. Overall, you can rent it and not be disappointed, but neither will you be if you shell out some rubles and bring it home for good.