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A review of "Enemy At The Gates"

Enemy At The Gates (2001)
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud.
Starring: Joseph Fiennes, Ed Harris, Bob Hoskins, Jude Law, Ron Perlman, Rachel Weisz.
     The plot of this movie is basically intertwining war cliches set in 1943 Stalingrad.  The young talented Russian soldier Zaitsev (Law) being pushed into patriotic heroism via a cat and mouse game with a German battle-honed enemy sniper Konig (Harris); the friendship he develops with a political officer Danilov (Fiennes);  falling in love with a coworker Chernova (Weisz) and the ensuing triangle that births betrayal and suicidal redemption.  
     What makes this movie worth watching is the direction, cinematography and acting.  Director Annaud creates a very bleak, taunt vision of a battle scarred land under the constant strain of attack.  You can taste the dirt and smell the blood of the continual stress of living and dying on the front.  Everyone is top of their game both in the screen chemistry between characters and their own separate performances (especially Harris, an actor who couldn't give a bad performance if he were dead).  
     Definitely worth a rent for anyone into military history/war/romance stories.  
     First published in 2004 on The Perlman Pages.

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