Netflix may be tapering back on throwing money at any and all projects that come its way, but that doesn’t mean it’s abandoning the prestige movie entirely. In fact, the Netflix movie adaptation of the classic literary masterpiece All Quiet on the Western Front is about as prestige filmmaking as you can get in its new trailer. It’s a big war film, in a different language, from a novel, and directed by a hot upcoming director. It also looks really good.
While this isn’t the first time that All Quiet on the Western Front has been adapted into a movie, it is the first time that it has been adapted in German, the original language of the novel. The story follows Paul (Felix Kammerer) and a group of his comrades as they enter into the First World War, but it is truly about the horrors of war itself and the cost, in human life, it wages. The book was touted as the first real look at what WWI was like for those who fought in it, tearing away the stories of glory and bravery to reveal the horrific underbelly of trench warfare and the callous nature of the world’s leaders who seemed not to care about the horrendous slaughter of their own people. The original adaptation of the book in 1930 was so riveting that it was said it would help divert all future wars, a laughable claim now.
However, we’ve come pretty far in our depiction of war in both books and cinema as film after film has shown us the true horrors of war, so All Quiet on the Western Front doesn’t seem quite so revolutionary in that sense. Just a few years ago the stellar 1917 gave us an incredible depiction of the war itself. Still, this film looks particularly bleak and harsh, though visually gorgeous. There’s very little hope in this All Quiet on the Western Front trailer, and it appears that director Edward Berger is going to deliver a depressing yet epic story as our young protagonists move from dreaming of the glories of war to dying in the muddy, rat-infested reality of it.
All Quiet on the Western Front is out in select theaters now and will release on Netflix on October 28.