Looks like director Jean Jacques really believes that audiences have the patience
of a Llama, as he makes another film that is in serious competition to his earlier
'Seven Years In Tibet'. If you grew an extra three inches in height while watching
that loooonnnnggg movie, chances are you'll probably suffer from brain dystrophy
and actually watch seaweed grow on you as you watch this other tapewormish flick,
Enemy At The Gates.
Another day and another war film, this flick is set during the 1942-43 battle of Stalingrad, a key military campaign in which the Nazis met with great resistance from the Russians. In the midst of one particular tussle, political officer Danilov (Joseph Feines) sees another young guy Vassili (Jude Law) totally take on the role of Terminator Version WW-II and annihilate a group of Germans with the help of his rather modest rifle.
The rather intense looking Danilov puts one and one together and figures that with the right kinda PR this country guy could well be the national hero that the country needs to look up to. So with the help of the media, this guy is touted to be the country's own version of William Tell, but with a rifle.
This cranks up the Germans majorly, and soon they come up with Major Konig (Ed Harris) - the latest model of sharpshooters this side of the Bavarian Black Forests. With this begins a sniper happy cat and mouse chase between the forces' best sharp shooters who battle it out from one burned out factory to another. To complicate matters further, we have Rachel Weiz, who, post Mummy, is a linguist, and serves as the third vertex in a soon to be mucky love triangle.
Enemy At The Gates is a flick you can afford to watch only if you manage to shake off that nasty déjà vu feeling you get as you grapple with a gazillion clichés taken from hajaar western and war films. The actors are all good if you know how to define your good. Jude Law is cute, so he's good. Rachel Weiz, with her WW-II perm and tweezed eyebrows, looks too cosmetic to actually have her brain connected to her mouth. I wonder if she can even find her way out of the shoe section at a mall, let alone be a linguist.
The film does have some brilliance in reluctant fits and shy starts, but that's only when the café au lait kicked in. Director Jean Jacques seemed to have done his homework and learnt that not everybody believes that Brad Pitt could actually survive anyplace outside Bel Air, let alone Tibet!
Enemy At The Gates is an okay flick even if it is 40 minutes and several corpses
too long. I wouldn't say it's great with a capital 'G' and in neon lights, but
it's decent in its own sepia toned way. Catch it if you can.