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Overall Rating
3.65

Awesome: 24.81%
Worth A Look41.09%
Average: 13.18%
Pretty Bad: 16.28%
Total Crap: 4.65%

7 reviews, 87 user ratings


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Enemy at the Gates
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by Preston Jones

"Eh...at least there's shootouts..."
3 stars

Director Jean-Jacques Annaud's newest film, Enemy at the Gates, starts strong but loses steam towards the finale. It is a taut tale of World War II-torn Stalingrad and the expert snipers who do battle among the ruins of the Russian city.

The first entry in this year's busy slate of WWII films (Michael Bay's $135 million epic Pearl Harbor is due in May and John Woo's drama Windtalkers is reportedly set for a Christmas release, among many others), Enemy at the Gates tells the story of one Vassily Zaitsev (Jude Law, in an intense performance), a foot soldier in Stalin's Red Army during the latter days of WWII. A simple recruit from the Ural Mountains, Vassily discovers early on in life that he has a talent for shooting with deadly accuracy.
The Russian army discovers Vassily's talent through Dasilov (played by Joseph Fiennes, rather apathetically) who meets Vassily under excruciating circumstances, and witnesses his talents as a sharpshooter. Soon, Dasilov is given permission by a young Nikita Krushchev (Bob Hoskins, in a noisy performance) to promote Vassily as the savior of the Russian army.
Vassily, immediately uncomfortable with the role of hero, nonetheless shoulders his weapon and continues to fight for Stalin. Soon, his legend spreads and the German army becomes concerned enough to send for one of their most lethal assassins, the feared Major Koenig (Ed Harris, steely-eyed and grim). Koenig engages Vassily in a tense game of cat and mouse with astronomical stakes.
While he's locked in a struggle with the great German sniper, Vassily begins to fall in love with Tania, (Rachel Weisz), a Jewish Russian soldier whom Danilov also fancies. The love triangle that soon develops only causes Vassily more concern, while the Germans continue to pound Stalingrad in hopes of capturing it. All these intertwining threads build to a breathless climax where few are left standing and lives are forever changed.
Director/co-writer Annaud (with Alain Godard) makes only a few missteps in his newest film, the chief one being the introduction of a romantic subplot in the form of Tania. Had her part been excised, the film would have been much stronger, not to mention shorter. The movie begins to drag towards the end, especially after the story is resolved and a needless postscript is tacked on.
The cast is excellent, with the standouts being Law and Harris, who make the dueling snipers both believable and human. A drawback that could potentially hinder the overall suspension of disbelief for audiences is that all the actors speak in English, most with noticeable British accents.
Fans of war dramas and those looking for romance among shrapnel will definitely enjoy Annaud's latest work.

Enemy at the Gates, while neither fresh nor particularly surprising, still manages to engross and thrill while painting a mostly realistic portrait of WWII Russia and the gruesome struggles that went on.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4699&reviewer=304
originally posted: 02/19/02 14:48:59
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User Comments

1/02/14 Kingneutron Always a fan of Rachel Weisz- she lightened up an otherwise grim film 4 stars
7/28/13 vbjvbwlff USA 5 stars
6/09/08 PAUL SHORTT ERRATIC, BUT SOMETIMES THRILLING 3 stars
11/26/07 mb Ok, but could pass on it. 3 stars
9/29/06 I-K Tepid, overwrought and loose with the truth. Josef Vilsmaier's "Stalingrad" kills it. 2 stars
9/08/06 Thomas Semesky A different look at WW2. 4 stars
3/11/06 Dillon A personal war movie, using the war as a battleground for the fight between 2 men. 5 stars
1/08/06 gerry dunne wonderfully athmospheric and entertaining 4 stars
11/27/05 Alexey American soldiers in russian uniform. Too cheesy at times. Realistic at other. 4 stars
11/16/05 Adrian It's got soul, but it's not a soldier. Needs more direction, but its good while it lasts. 4 stars
9/29/05 Fernando Lastra good picture but no so real 4 stars
8/18/05 ES Finally a War story from a different perspective, felt very authentic to the times 5 stars
2/15/05 carlei great story... 5 stars
12/29/04 Andrea Brilliant! 5 stars
12/29/04 Monks is playas too only dog so dirty to lap up turd but too lazy to lick itself 1 stars
8/03/04 Anthony G this girl should be teabaged cuz she fucking stupid, this movie is sick 4 stars
7/26/04 You don't care This movie is one of my favorites because it's WWII and it's sniper vs sniper 5 stars
6/07/04 This girl A pointless turd of a movie that despite its occasional good elements, is still a turd. 1 stars
1/13/04 mmww See it, it is close to reality of the shit of war 5 stars
11/28/03 Kateryna Hrechko Such a Wonderful movie! 5 stars
11/14/03 snowconehead Very underrated epic scenes; unnecessary love story 4 stars
11/07/03 Capt' Fox Great war movie, realistic, great acting, worth time & $ to rent. Ignore romance crap. 5 stars
10/19/03 Julreub Polished, slick and rough all at once, not bad! 4 stars
9/28/03 Kyle I like Jude Law 4 stars
8/11/03 Nicole Completely agree about the unnecessary romance 3 stars
8/11/03 francis curiously uninvolving. unnecessary romance. 3 stars
7/04/03 Jim Leaves little doubt who the better sniper is, and it's not the one who wins. 4 stars
4/07/03 Jack Sommersby Awesome physcial scale but very little emotional depth. Contrived out the ying-yang. 2 stars
3/17/03 elizaveta good depiction of a side of ww2 that we don't often see. ignore the cheesy romance... 4 stars
2/07/03 123 good movie with out-of-placed romance 4 stars
11/10/02 Stevo Tedious and irritating. Sunset Beach-quality script. Annoying acting. 2 stars
8/12/02 GOOD its ok, but no saving private ryan 4 stars
7/01/02 Natalie Stonecipher Poignant. Bob Hoskins playing Nikita Krushchev especially outstanding. 4 stars
4/08/02 stoolie-bird boring....a waste of my time 2 stars
4/06/02 Junshi I didn't choose to watch this, but it isn't boring for sure, not jump-start exciting 4 stars
2/12/02 Yourm Ama the movie was good i enjoyed it 4 stars
2/09/02 Alex Pydd Great war movie, not the conventional tanks-planes-explosions bs, rent it! 5 stars
12/18/01 Martin grows tiresome! 3 stars
10/16/01 MaMaFaC KICKS ASS 5 stars
10/14/01 R.W. Welch Harris manages to save this flick but it's a close call. 4 stars
9/30/01 phil m. afficiando I'd have paid double to see it as a documentary, leaving out the crappola and sappiness. 3 stars
9/07/01 madatthismovie SNIPE WARS WHILE THE FRONT LINE SOLDIERS SIT IN A BUNKER FARTING ON CANDLES 1 stars
8/22/01 eruch realistic war scenes -- rest mostly crap 4 stars
8/22/01 Jim Renwick Only an OK war flick but looked good. Wait for the video. 4 stars
8/21/01 Monday Morning Romance had no place here. Fucking & fighting don't mix well in movies. 3 stars
8/20/01 Hawkeye A few story gaps, but over all a really nice film. Kept my attention right through! 4 stars
8/01/01 Al Primon Excellent. Hitchcock like suspense and opening sequence equal to that in S P Ryan. 5 stars
7/28/01 Steve Very gripping movie about a different part of WW2. Great insight into the trials of heroism 5 stars
6/26/01 Natasha Fox Depicts shocking realism and is of enormous social value 5 stars
6/15/01 zombie could have been great, but the love story fucked everything up 2 stars
6/10/01 Ramsey Could've been better! Ending needed work! 4 stars
5/30/01 Bud A tough no nonsense look at war. Severe well acted. I am glad that I saw it. 4 stars
5/07/01 Suzz good WW2 film 4 stars
5/03/01 Bueller Good movie. I liked it. But do we really need another movie that shows us "War is Hell"? 4 stars
5/02/01 SharPShooteR_12 One of the coolest movies out there.....Had some flaws, but it was wicked! 5 stars
5/01/01 Joey Great movie... one to get on DVD. 5 stars
4/26/01 y2mckay No Private Ryan, but good bullet-to-the-head action. Rachel Weisz is grimy and GORGEOUS. 4 stars
4/24/01 hairy cock lick my balls! 5 stars
4/23/01 goerge very fucking cool 5 stars
4/20/01 Jimmy Clendennen Awesome! 5 stars
4/18/01 Grey Great movie, Loved the bombing scene, Earthshaking!!! 5 stars
4/16/01 studmaster This movie should be called Enema on the Gates! 1 stars
4/13/01 Alexandre Pappamikail Awesome first 15m; it seems he wins the battle alone... over 1 million russians died!!! 4 stars
4/12/01 WWII Guy Incredibly inaccurate historically, but worth seeing. 4 stars
4/11/01 Gremlin Awesome sniper movie, loved seeing the Eastern front for once 5 stars
4/08/01 Joe W. Mendoza Thought the movie awsome as well as riviting & better than Saving Private Ryan. 5 stars
4/08/01 Gary Embrey Rather a bad film. As a historian of WW2 I was very disappointed! 2 stars
4/08/01 Andrew Deikun The action sequences are good, the middle part of the movie drags 3 stars
4/03/01 kohawk The most bizarre, disgusting sex scene I've ever seen. Too long, not plausible 3 stars
4/02/01 CBSAND Hard to know who to root for. The evil Germans or the even worse Soviets. 4 stars
4/02/01 NONE YA MAN I LOVED THIS FUCKING AWESOME MOVIE 5 stars
4/01/01 Dmitriy Mestetskiy the best 5 stars
4/01/01 Viccy Powerful visuals (Jude Law included!) bit overlong, but worth it 5 stars
3/30/01 The Reviewer some great performances -ed harris. ending does suck though. 5 stars
3/29/01 Wolvie Snipers Rule!!!! 4 stars
3/29/01 chris dirty and all, jude law was hot!!! 4 stars
3/26/01 Mike Smith No consistency 2 stars
3/24/01 Paul Like Saving Private Ryan, starts off with a wallop! Never quite regains momentum after. 4 stars
3/23/01 JB If the whole movie was a show down in the wasteland it would be great. A horrible ending. 3 stars
3/22/01 guyguy this is gay 1 stars
3/21/01 Andrew Ratliff Not bad. 4 stars
3/20/01 Matthew Bartley Characters a bit cardboard but v.suspenseful with some amazing visuals 4 stars
3/19/01 Will Wouldn't have been that bad, if only there was no silly crap romance. Tsk, tsk. 3 stars
3/18/01 joe not really suspensful, but you still pay attention 4 stars
3/18/01 Weird Andy Lame! Check out the German flick "Stalingrad" instead. 2 stars
3/16/01 TheRock No suspense, bad acting, terrible ending = sucks 1 stars
3/13/01 TimmyP A Saving Private Ryan wannabe that falls apart 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  16-Mar-2001 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Jul-2001 (M)




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