.

Enemy at the Gates

Jude Law, Ed Harris, Joseph Fiennes

Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
March 16, 2001

Many German critics shat all over this $80 million epic when it opened at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. The chief complaint about this lavish depiction of the German invasion of Russia during the pivotal World War II battle of Stalingrad (1942 to 1943) is that the movie had gone Hollywood. Financed with German money, Enemy nonetheless stars American Ed Harris as Major Konig, the Nazi sharpshooter, and British Jude Law as Vassili Zaitsev, the real-life Russian sniper who tries to bring Konig down. Worse, the core of the movie involves Vassili's romantic rivalry with his political-officer friend Danilov (British Joseph Fiennes) over the affections of Tania (Rachel Weisz, another Brit), the Jewish soldier who truly loves Vassili. Accounts vary over who really loved whom, and William Craig's nonfiction book Enemy at the Gates only inspired the script by Alain Godard and director Jean-Jacques Annaud, both French. It's not a strict adaptation, so things get made up.

Still, despite the flak about romantic cliches and miscast actors, Annaud's film boasts harrowing battle scenes as Russian relief troops are bombarded while crossing the River Volga, and Stalingrad itself is battered by air and sea while tanks and soldiers overrun its streets. In the shell of the city, Vassili and Konig face off in a duel of wits that is meant to mirror the larger battle. Any flaws in execution pale against those moments when the film brings history to vital life.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Bird on a Wire”

    Leonard Cohen | 1969

    While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com