Enemy at the Gates | Chicago Reader

Enemy at the Gates

Another prowar movie to go with Saving Private Ryan (which it visibly imitates), safely set during World War II—specifically at the battle of Stalingrad—though it seems perfectly willing to make us feel better about killing Arabs in the present. (Maybe to show that it has its heart in the right place, it ends like Reds in a hospital.) Jude Law is a Soviet sharpshooter, English actors plays most of the other Russians (including Bob Hoskins, camping like crazy as Nikita Khrushchev), and Ed Harris is a Nazi sharpshooter. There's never much risk of reality intruding—just a lot of histrionic James Horner music (fortunately only semiaudible under the gunfire) and plenty of designer stubble on the soldiers' faces. The director delivering these time-tested goods is Jean-Jacques Annaud, who with Alain Godard adapted William Craig's book. The actors—who also include Joseph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, and Ron Perlman outfitted with a jaw full of fillings—do a pretty good job, though not good enough to sustain 133 minutes.


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