Enemy at the Gates movie (spoilers)

Just finished watching the movie Enemy at the Gates. I think it’s pretty typical of American cinema* that they generally ignore the war in the background and focus on one hero, and on top of that shovel in a completely unnecessary romance. Pardon me while I engage in a little :rolleyes: (I *have *read the book, and was hoping the movie would follow the book a little more, but it seems perfectly OK to steal book titles and then change the story as much as you want. I, Robot, anyone?)

On the whole, though, a fairly good movie with lots of excellent stalking scenes between the Major and Vassili. Looking up Vassili I see he was indeed a famous hero of the Battle of Stalingrad. Facinating information. I also read, however, that the Russians were completely insulted by the depiction of themselves in the movie! Well, I can see that being either way - we falsely depicted them or we truly depicted them and they don’t like to remember. Either way, Stalingrad stood, so I think that’s gotta mean something.

I slow-forwarded all the scenes with Rachel Weisz. I am so anti-romance in serious movies that it annoys me to see it! So I couldn’t tell you how she did, nor much of Joseph Fiennes. Although Fiennes’ death was probably his best moment.

Jude Law was great though, but Ed Harris really stole the show. His portrayal of Major Konig was superb. And the best scenes were when it was just Konig and Zaitsev, squaring off, mano a mano.

I still hope to see a *real *portrayal of the Battle for Stalingrad, a movie perhaps like A Bridge Too Far. I don’t know what the chances are but it’s a fascinating battle, Germans and Russians at the end of their ropes, pitted against each other.

*Now, now. I’m not really insulting American cinema but it is something that it does a lot. The romance portion particularly. The amount of movies I’ve seen that halt or even derail the main plot so as to force romance in is astounding. And apparently American cinema seems to need a hero.

The other interesting thing I discovered in looking up all this stuff is Richard Attenborough, the man who directed A Bridge Too Far, is the elder brother of David Attenborough, the famous naturalistr! Wow! Imagine being able to point and say “Thos are my sons.”

It’s not an American movie. It’s a European-financed, French-scripted-and-directed, British movie, filmed in Germany. The only Americans in prominent roles are actors Ed Harris and Ron Perlman and composer James Horner.
Knowing next to nothing about the battle of Stalingrad, I enjoyed the movie very much–especially the romance.

The romance between Vassily Zaitsev and Tanya Chernova really did happen, though. The end result was quite a bit sadder than portrayed in the movie; both through the other had died, and Chernova held a torch for Zaitsev for many years, finding out only decades later than he had been alive all that time.

As to a better Stalingrad movie, there is one.

That said, even this movie concentrates on a few German soldiers. It’s just not easy to come up with a feature-length movie that would adequately explain a battle that went on for months and involved millions of men; you’d end up with a very fractured sequence of scenes.

I think your viewing of the movie is flawed by thinking it is a movie about the battle while it isn’t that at all. It’s about a man.
I really enjoyed the movie. I love Rache Weiss in just about anything.

I thought the production design of a war-torn Stalingrad city was absolutely incredible, but the performances aren’t given anything to latch on to, and one (Joseph Fiennes) is both very bad and wholly irrelevant. James Horner’s infamous for “copying” other composers, but he’s rarely been as conspicuous as he was here. And whatever tension that’s built in the encounters between Law & Harris is betrayed by the remarkably stupid way there conflict is resolved. Nice closing credits, though.

I think any movie’s going to have a hard time living up to the incredible story of Stalingrad. Though it’s largely propoganda, *The Battle of Russia* (part of the Why We Fight series) remains an incredible document to much of the suffering and resilience in evidence there.

Did you ever see that BBC4 biopic Testimony with Ben Kingsley as Dimitri Shostakovich? On his deathbed, he’s visited by the ghost of Stalin, who mocks him by singing a stereotypical Shostakovich riff “wee we-wee wee WEEEE?”

Which was like the soundtrack of this entire movie.

The shot of Rachel Weisz’ butt stands as my number one favorite instance of movie nudity.

And holy shit, is it a downer.

Good movie, but depressing as all hell.


Not specifically about Stalingrad, but probably the best movie about WWII in Russia - and probably the best war movie of all time, for my money - is the Russian film **Come And See/Idi i smotri **. Be warned, though, it’s fucking harrowing and will probably have you in tears: it makes Saving Private Ryan look like Hogan’s Heroes.

I liked this movie. I wanted to love it, I had high hopes for it but it doesn’t quite gell.
One thing I liked that is unusual for a film is that nobody tries to do ‘accent’ work. Although it can enhance a film, it frequently detracts as one actor may be poor at doing it and it is very distracting. Plus, Russians don’t speak English with a Russian accent, they speak russian. (or whatever it is) So, it is not really more authentic.

The problem is Jude Law. Well, not really but, when I and most Americans hear his English accent we think the person is intelligent. The film tries to point out how Vasilli is poorly educated. So, for me, the film looses something.

I also liked Bob Hoskins in the film.

I am not a fan of movies taken from books.

Still, I thought the movie was ok.

I felt though it followed the book “War of the rats” closer than “Enemy at the Gates.”
“EatG” as a book was more detail driven and “fractured”
“WotR” as a book stayed true to the facts pretty much, but revolved around the russian snipers.

Quite tangental, but several months ago I got to listen to a great long rant from a (drunk) Finnish guy about their Greatest Hero, another sniper like Vassily and Konig. (Killed hundreds, fought in ten wars, da dee da dee dah.) Anyone know what his name is?

I know it made ME want to fight for Mother Russia. :smiley:

Oh yeah, I loved the line where he introduced himself to the officers.

Simo Häyhä… the “White Death”

Yep, I remember the bit about taking out all the guys with a submachine gun. Though the Wikipedia article doesn’t mention his having fought in multiple wars (or perhaps I misremembered that bit.) Anyway, thank you.

The opening sequences of Enemy At The Gates (with the barge ride across the Volga and the “One man gets the rifle, the next man gets the ammunition!”) encapsulated to me, perfectly, the Russian experience during WWII.

They also used it in the PC version of the game Call of Duty, and it’s just as amazing there as it is in the film…

Ah. I honestly didn’t notice that when I was scoping around online. My apologies!

My SO noticed this and pointed it out. And yes, that was amazing. It captured the book, too.

I had a problem with the languages, too. I mean, not a big one, but they could have at least attempted to point out that Major Konig is speaking German, except when he speaks to Sacha, then Russian. And that Vassili speaks Russian. At least the writing was in Russian.

I do agree that finnes is irrelevant and unneeded.

And I don’t think that some movie could address the entire battle of Stalingrad! Even A Bridge Too Far didn’t’ address the whole far…but it did do better in covering it, IMO.

Leo Tolstoy started it all, when he was cranking out scripts for Republic.


I have read both War of the Rats and Enemy at the Gates, and saw the movie. I agree with you about the movie following War of the Rats.