Enemy At The Gates (2001)

(In theaters, March 2001) The battle for Stalingrad ranks as one of the most dramatic stories of World War 2, and it was about time for a big-budget film to be made on the subject. That it ends up starring high-powered actors like Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes and the incomparable Ed Harris is just icing on the cake. The opening sequence is gripping, as is graphically shows brand-new recruits being thrown in a battle where each side can shoot at them. The rest of the film is mostly good, though by the end an ordinary love story threatens to topple the whole film. Any other film can and does include the requisite romance, so couldn’t we focus on Stalingrad some more? In any case, the images are gripping, the action scenes work well and while the cat-and-mouse game between opposing snipers could have been more focused, there’s enough of it to be satisfying. A good film made less special by a tacked-upon romance, Enemy At The Gates still stands as the first good film of 2001.

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