No Change in the West (2022)

Above all, four teenage friends want to go to the front and fight for their country. When they finally achieve that dream, they realize almost immediately how wrong they have made. But isn’t it too late?

I will throw trifles at trifles. War is evil. Thousands and even millions of people die in the foolish struggle for the human construction of absurdity – religion, property, and property. For centuries, young people have been convinced that the fight for God or the country is beautiful and honorable – it is easy to say when you sit alone in the crew and decide just how many young people to send to die and where. Today, countless people are also saying they are going to go out and kick this and that. On the one hand, perhaps motivated by patriotism, on the other hand, it is entirely possible that some distorted vision of heroism has appeared over the years in dozens of beautiful films, where the protagonist became famous and glorified after his destruction. He was wearing a flawlessly ironed outfit. With his own hands, the entire line of defense of the enemy has saved several hundred of his friends. Well, these miracles happen in the movies. The truth is much worse, and today’s film, although also in color, is a lot closer to it than most war productions.

No Changes in the West (2022) – movie review [Netflix]. A simple story about murder

Lest it be so – I don’t mean tactics and strategies, because those, at least on the part of the Germans, that we follow in the film, don’t really exist. They gather in the trenches, constantly reveal their positions, panic at the sight of tanks, although we are watching the last months of the war and already should have been strategized. But here there is no command, no formation, no meaningful commands. Just “Go and kill as many enemies as you can before they kill you”. It certainly shows the general nonsense of war and the fear of these young men beautifully, but director Edward Berger seems to me to have exaggerated this particular element of the film.

After a short introduction about another soldier, we meet our main character, Paul Bomer (Felix Kamerer). The boy decided to forge his parents’ signature so that he could enlist in the German army and go to the front in France. A small group of friends travel with him. We quickly learn what the premise of the film is, and meet Paul’s future friend and best buddy, Stanislaus Kacchini (Albrecht Schuch) – for Cat’s friends – Hell begins. And it doesn’t end until the end of the movie. Again and again, the director presents the viewer with terrifying battle scenes, interspersed here and there with moments of relative normality, where the boys can still laugh, share their dreams, and get excited at the idea of ​​the girl. Feel their friendship. But moments later, we’re back in the mud, the cold, and the smell of blood in which they must live.

The plot is not overly complex, and in relation to the literary origin it may seem quite poor. Many plots and characters have been cut, and others have been altered to make the narrative more fluid. No doubt it is connected with the desire to emphasize the theme of the inferno of war as much as possible, but reading what has been cut, about Paul’s inner monologues, it is impossible not to feel a twinge of remorse, That the new version is very straightforward, smashing the viewer’s head with its message.

No Changes in the West (2022) – movie review [Netflix]. piece of art

end of war?

Whatever you say about the movie’s plot, it’s impossible to deny its incredibly subtle artistic side. The above opening contrasts beautifully with scenes of sunrise, a silent forest, and little foxes cuddled against their mother, with the filth and violence of fighting in the trenches. The director takes the entire confrontation in one long and impressive shot, introduces us to Private Heinrich Gerber (Jacob Schmidt) and accompanies him to the end. There are plenty of similar, very long shots throughout the movie, and each one is just as impressive as the previous ones.

The desire to show certain details, themes and events in a contrasting way is also evident throughout the film. In some places he simply gives us beautiful pictures of nature, the astonishing colors of the sun hiding behind the horizon, and moments later he raids the face of a frightened child covered in several layers of mud and blood, and he had no idea it. He will never return to him when he leaves the house. These are shocking photos that make a sensational impression. But sometimes, the director sharply stabs the head of the viewer, Like when the standard of living and the dangers of the military appear in the fore and who watch from afar, from some palace or other court of generals. This is one of the cliches I mentioned at the beginning.

No Change in the West is an imperfect movie, but it’s still great and worth watching on the largest screen possible, with the best sound system. Two and a half hours of showtime is basically a long time, but I’d be lying if I said that at one point the movie was taking that long. A large number of well-prepared battle scenes of all kinds – from the usual shooting from trenches, passing through charges, stabbing oneself with bayonets, invasion of tanks, burning with flamethrowers, ending of primitive battles – all this, plus live fear painted on the faces of the actors, with The feelings associated with losing another friend, with all that nonsense, make the movie pass in the blink of an eye. It is a pity that Berger made the main character’s character shallow, leaving the viewer to read the actor’s face. Either way, it’s one of those movies that is simply worth watching.

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