"Enemy at the Gates"
Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud.
Written by Jean-Jacques Annaud and Alain Godard.
Starring Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Joseph Fiennes and Ed Harris.
Release Year: 2001
Review Date: 1/1/01
Whenever you see a good preview, you always
hope that the movie will live up to its billing. You remember when
the preview for "Star Wars, Episode One: The Phantom Menace" started
making the rounds? That thing was getting standing ovations! But,
the movie was only good, not great, and the preview built up people
for a big fall. (I am currently hopeful that "Pearl Harbor" is even
half as good as its trailer; every time I see that preview, the
audience is left in stunned silence...this is a good thing.)
"Enemy at the Gates" has a great preview as
well, and it looked intriguing so I have been anxiously awaiting the
release of this film. And, as the Arizona/Butler game tipped
off--following the 30-point annihilation suffered by Syracuse in
their game against Kansas--I was bored, going on more bored, and
decided to break out and see the movie. And, wow.
I mean, wow!! I loved this movie, and
love... that's a strong word. Based on a true story on events during
the battle at Stalingrad in 1942, the plot mostly follows the
Russians' attempts to defend the city against the attacking German
army. The part of the war we are treated to features a Russian
sniper (Jude Law) that has miraculously racked up almost 60 kills in
a month, taking out German officers around the bombed-out city. Used
as a propaganda hero to rally the Russian troops, he becomes so
famous that the Germans get ahold of his whereabouts and send the
best sniper from Germany to kill him...a major (Ed Harris) that also
is in charge of the German sniper school. Almost half the movie is
spent watching Harris chase Law, and vice versa, and it is these
scenes that make the movie so intriguing.
I liked this film so much that I was
desperately trying to think of things that would make you NOT go and
see this movie. Here's all that I can come up with.
1. You hate movies that have a great opening
sequence, an interesting storyline at its heart and--finally!--a
tense, exciting, realistic ending. This movie has all of the
above. The gut-wrenching opening sequence--where Russian soldiers
are brought into Stalingrad by boat and, like "Saving Private Ryan",
many of these soldiers are gutted by gunfire before they even
land--is pretty intense. And, the end of this movie was just
perfect, given the way the rest of the movie had played out.
2. You cringe at watching people get shot in
the head. Hey, it's a sniper movie, and you should be aware that
snipers apparently don't believe in body shots. So many people get
shot in the forehead in this movie that I lost count.
3. You don't like watching sex scenes take
place in tight quarters. The sex scene in this movie--featuring Law
and co-star Rachel Weisz--takes place in a bunk area of the sniper
base and you WILL have visions of the first time you fooled around
in your college dorm room; for some people, this brings back
horrific flashbacks of you, your partner, and the inconveniences
that your bastard college administrators made you suffer through by
providing only a twin-sized bed.
Other than that, you are gonna love this
movie...and that Jude Law...man, he's hot (if you, ahem, like that
sort of thing).
Rating: Opening Weekend
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard