Netflix Movie Review: All Quiet on the Western Front

As I have said several times on this blog, starting with the most significant war movie ever produced, “Saving Private Ryan”, released in July 1998. When you make a war movie, you have an obligation as the producer and director to make the war scenes as horrific as possible. If you do not show war the way it really is, then you disrespect the millions who have fought and died in all Wars. If someone thinks that the violence and horror in this or any other war movie are too much, then they simply should not see the film. War is war, it should not exist in the world, but it does, and showing what it was really like is mandatory for all war movies.

The new Netflix movie “All Quiet on the Western Front” is about World War I. In terms of horrendous death during the battles in this war that started in 1914, World War I is one of the worst, mainly because of the use of chemical warfare. The depiction of the mud, rain, horrendous conditions, huge trenches, and non-stop death were shot as well as any war movie I have ever seen. There was one scene where they showed a dead body high in the air at the top of a tree, because the soldier was blown up and thrown into the air. One can only imagine being a young man of only 20 years old, born at the exact wrong time in history, too poor to avoid living through unimaginable daily death, wondering if the next minute it was your turn to die. Scenes like these are commonplace in all wars.

All Quiet on the Western Front was also released in 1930 and 1979, starring actor Richard Thomas. This time around, this Netflix version has been correctly nominated for 9 Academy awards, including best picture. There are no named actors in this movie, but all of the acting starting with Felix Kammerer as Paul Bäumer is outstanding throughout these 2 hours. The Netflix rating for this film is correct and very high 92%. I agree with his rating and give this movie my highest recommendation.

Movie Review: The Son

After reading some of the reviews for “The Son” I was stunned at the low 27% ratings for this movie. This film is very well acted and, is about a very important problem with young people in this country – depression. The Son is far from a great movie, but it is also far from worthy of a very low 27% rating. After reading one of the reviews, I was reminded of one flaw in the story that you could drive a truck through – which is very unfortunate because this one error takes too much away from the overall quality of the screenplay. This might explain some of the bad reviews, but despite this mistake – this is definitely not a bad movie.

The Son stars Hugh Jackman, who gives one of his very best dramatic performances, worthy of a Golden Globe nomination he received a few weeks ago. Jackman stars as Peter, the father of a troubled 17-year-old young man Nicholas, played by Zen McGrath. Peter divorced his first wife Kate, played by Laura Dern, and then has a son with his second wife Beth, played by Vanessa Kirby. Through it all, Nicholas is extremely depressed because he never adapted to his parent’s divorcing, and for this reason, his teen years are far more difficult for him than for other kids his age. Nicholas is also a very sensitive and delicate young man, never easy when trying to get through high school.

There are periods within this story, where the story reverts to too much dialogue-noise and not enough substance and detail about what Nicholas’ depression is all about – other than the fact that he greatly resents his father for leaving his mother and him for another woman and that he thinks he will never “measure up” to the success of his father. This mostly results in Nicholas not attending school, and in a severe and dangerous depression. This movie also stars Anthony Hopkins who plays Peter’s cruel father in only one scene, that is very well acted.

The huge hole in this script is when Nicholas tells his father that he found his gun in the laundry room – and despite this news, Peter does nothing to REMOVE the gun entirely from the house. Nobody would do something this stupid, considering the extreme circumstances. This is why screenwriting is the most challenging art form, for reasons like this one, because you cannot make a mistake like this. Screenwriting is also challenging for the time when the critics trash your movie, despite months and years of hard work.

What I find the most profound about the critics is that they give a well-acted and conceived story like this a 27% rating and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is in the 95% range. This is despite the hot-dog-finger-dancing, rubber-penis-fighting and dancing-plastic-forehead-eyes-head-ware. To say nothing of the giant bagel time portal. Can anything make sense in the movie industry again, after what happened in 2022? Just plain insane.

Due to the acting and extremely important story involved in The Son, I give it a solid 85% rating and a strong recommendation, despite that huge mistake in the story. This time around, the critics are very wrong.

Oscar Nominations for 2022

Anyone with any sanity left can only hope that the horrendous “Everything Everywhere All At Once” does not win for best picture. It’s bad enough this worst-ever movie was nominated. It is good to see that Top Gun was nominated – normally the Academy does not like big box-office action movies like this one. Babylon – is not on this list at all, so some sanity still exists. Hopefully, Steven Speilberg will win best director, The Fabelmans for best picture and Michele Williams for Best Actress given her many previous nominations. She is long overdue to win her first Oscar.

Best Picture

All Quiet on the Western Front
Avatar: The Way of Water
The Banshees of Inisherin
Everything Everywhere All at Once
The Fabelmans
Top Gun: Maverick
Triangle of Sadness
Women Talking

Best Director

Martin McDonaghThe Banshees of Inisherin
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Steven SpielbergThe Fabelmans
Todd FieldTÁR
Ruben Östlund, Triangle of Sadness

Best Actor

Austin ButlerElvis
Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
Brendan FraserThe Whale
Paul Mescal, Aftersun
Bill Nighy, Living

Best Actress

Cate BlanchettTÁR
Ana de ArmasBlonde
Andrea RiseboroughTo Leslie
Michelle WilliamsThe Fabelmans
Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Supporting Actor

Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin
Brian Tyree HenryCauseway
Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans
Barry KeoghanThe Banshees of Inisherin
Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Supporting Actress

Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Hong ChauThe Whale
Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin
Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, and Ian Stokell, All Quiet on the Western Front
Rian Johnson, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Kazuo Ishiguro, Living
Screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie, story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks, Top Gun: Maverick
Sarah Polley, Women Talking

Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner, The Fabelmans
Todd Field, TÁR
Ruben Östlund, Triangle of Sadness

Best Animated Feature Film

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Marcel the Shell With Shoes On
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish
The Sea Beast
Turning Red

Best International Feature Film

All Quiet on the Western Front
Argentina, 1985
The Quiet Girl

Best Documentary Feature

All That Breathes
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
Fire of Love
A House Made of Splinters