'Enemy at the Gates [Blu-ray]'
(Jude Law, Ed Harris, et al / Blu ray / PG-13 / (2001) 2009 / Paramount)
Overview: An expert sniper, Vassiliís deeds have become legendary - thanks to propaganda produced by Vassiliís best friend, a political officer named Danilov (Joseph Fiennes). To stop Vassili, the Germans dispatch their best sniper, Major Konig (Ed Harris), to Stalingrad.
DVD Verdict: The opening scenes capture the realities of war almost as effectively as was done in "Saving Private Ryan." This movie does something that so many other WWII movies does so stupidly, though: It tries to drive a romance into the middle of a survival of the fittest mortal combat film. I don't mind such a thing in a work of fiction, but this movie is about the Battle of Stalingrad, which is probably the most important battle of WWII.
Actually, the film is about a legend that grew in Soviet Russia during WWII, and this story puts it into that great battle. The opening scenes are pure adrenaline pumping combat that is stark and terrible. As the film settles down, though, we begin to focus in on a highly politicized duel between a pair of snipers. One is a peasant from Russia. The other is a professional from Nazi Germany. They hunt for one another through the broken city of Stalingrad, each attempting to find their advantage against the other.
To be sure, the sniper scenes are a bit far fetched, the love story is strange, the political drama overdone. The mass combat is spectacular. Watch this film for a look at that for yourself. The climax is ridiculous, especially for a sniper war. I suggest that you watch this film once just to get an idea of the nature of combat between the professional German army and the conscripted peasant army of the Soviet Union. It will give you a small look at the struggle that cost 20 million Soviets' lives.
In the end Danilov sees the truth of the situation and how he used Zaitsev to serve his own purposes and questions the meaning of war. This movies deals more with the battle of wits between the snipers, and the rivalry between the 2 russians for the love of the woman, than the bigger picture of the Battle of Stalingrad. I thought it was well done; interesting; and is based on a true story. [CdeP] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the following Special Features:
Through the Crosshairs
Inside Enemy at the Gates