Monday, October 6, 2008

Enemy at the Gates

Enemy at the Gates is a war film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. Made in 2001, it tells the story of soviet sniper Vasily Zaytsev (Jude Law) and his German sniper rival Major Erwin Konig (Ed Harris). The opening scene shows Zaytsev being forced into battle with only bullets and the order to pick up a fellow soldier's gun when he dies. The Russians, insensate, course into battle and get mowed down by the well-fortified Germans. But when the surviving Russians attempt to retreat the Russian generals kill them. The Russians will accept no cowards amongst their ranks. Following his survival, Zaytsev impresses a lieutenant by killing five Germans with five shots and is subsequently promoted to the sniper division. The rest of the movie follows Konig's hunt for Zaytsev and his eventual defeat.

The movie is based on the battle of Stalingrad during WWII, but takes many liberties. Most of the actors have British or American accents while being Russian or German. Overall, however, the movie has decent action scenes for its time and the plot is interesting. I especially enjoyed Ron Pearlman's part. Immediately after shooting a German soldier in the head he remarks, "It's about soup time, isn't it?"

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