Saturday, November 27, 2010

Enemy At The Gates (2001)

‘Battle of Stalingrad’ is considered to be one of the bloodiest battles fought in the human history. No war tales are complete without bringing into the account of Stalingrad. Since most of the movies have always been made on the European theater, it was really refreshing to see a story which showed the brutal fighting at the eastern front.

The year is 1942, where Nazis are skirmishing against the Russians for the control of the industrial city of Stalingrad. The movie renders the heroic account of Vasily Zaytsev, one of the most decorated snipers during World War II. Due to serious fatalities in the German ranks by the soviet snipers, Major Erwin Konig gets deployed to eliminate Zaytsev in order to lower the morale of the Russian Army. As the fighting intensifies these two men start to wage a private war for courage & honor.

Visually this movie is stunning; the action sequences are vicious & fruitfully bring the memoirs of Stalingrad alive. The pacing is kept slow, as this is a story of duel between two snipers, where endurance is the key to victory. Though director Jean Jacques Annaud has taken some liberty to add fictional elements in the story, his efforts for bringing out the war torn city of Stalingrad is exemplary.

Some of the unforgettable scenes from the movie are the desperate crossing of river Volga under intense firing from German bombers & the suicidal attack of the soviet army towards the German stronghold. If any of you are aware of the famous video game ‘Call of Duty’ back in 2003, some of the scenes of the game were heavily influenced by this movie. Jude Law as Vasily & Ed Harris as Major Konig did justice to these historic characters & intensified the anxiety all through the movie.

How much facts were actually put to use, I will never know but as a war movie ‘Enemy At The Gates’ is definitely recommended.

My Rating : 7/10


  1. Sorry, posted to RT. I'll post here with the next one.

  2. Good review. As to accuracy, the movie is built around a small part of the book of the same name. Zaitsev was a real person, although Soviet propaganda undoubtedly exaggerated his exploits. There is little proof to the Konig character and the end of the duel is fictional. Surprisingly, the female sniper (a subplot that you do not mention) is a real person, too. The setting in the middle of an urban battle rings true. This movie was European cinema's answer to "Saving Private Ryan".
    I eagerly await future posts on this subject and invite you to visit my blog ( which covers war movies.