| Share
 

Enemy at the Gates

Director:Jean-Jacques Annaud
Writers:Alain Godard and Jean-Jacques Annaud
Paramount Pictures R; 133 minutes
Release:3/01
Cast:Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz

Stories heap flesh and blood onto history's skeletal remains. The official version compresses individual lives into the size of a footnote; personal narrative returns folks to the center of events. By focusing on a handful of participants in epic battles, Enemy at the Gates creates a good war story.

The movie unfolds during World War II's Battle of Stalingrad—a long bloody conflict between the Soviet Army and Nazi forces. Ill-equipped leaders drop Russian peasant Vasily (Jude Law) into the chaos with minimal preparation and the threat of execution upon desertion or retreat. When novice gets his hands on a rifle, childhood sharpshooting skills (learned by poaching wolves) return with lethal skill. Officer Danilov (Joseph Fiennes) quickly notices Vasily's talent. With a couple of well-publicized photographs and stories of the humble boy's aim, Danilov transforms Vasily into a morale-boosting folk hero. This is a war, so complications soon arise from both sides. Vasily falls for Tanya (Rachel Weisz), a fellow sniper. And so does Danilov. Out to crush Red Army spirits, the Germans sic their best rifleman—played with steel intensity by Ed Harris—on Vasily.

The acting is uniformly excellent. The love triangle and the more existential cat-and-mouse game between Law and Harris are artfully portrayed with a nod to the political complexity of it all. The fact that violence comes fast and frequent is offset by its tasteful rendering. Indeed, the biggest threat to Enemy at the Gates lies within. Unnecessary ballast bogs down the script. Unrestrained symphonics cut through the soundtrack. No matter how muddied up the handsome hero gets, war movies nearly always strum up jingoistic feelings. This one is no exception. But does Enemy at the Gates stand up to Saving Private Ryan? You bet.


Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

More on Enemy at the Gates from Infoplease:

  • Enemy at the Gates - Starring Joseph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ed Harris
  • The True George Washington: Enemies: Gates - Turning from these public rather than personal foes, a very different type of enemies is encountered in those inimical to Washington in his own army.
  • Psalms: 127 - A Song of degrees for Solomon…
  • Ron Perlman - Biography of Ron Perlman, Star of the Hellboy movies
  • Rachel Weisz - Biography of Rachel Weisz, The Oscar-winning star of The Constant Gardener

Premium Partner Content
HighBeam Research
Documents Images and Maps Reference
(from Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Newswires, Transcripts and Books)

Research our extensive archive of more than 80 million articles from 6,500 publications.

Additional search results provided by HighBeam Research, LLC. © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring