The true story of Soviet sharpshooter Vassili Zaitsev, who engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with a German sniper in the Battle of Stalingrad.
Enemy at the Gates (2001)
Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud
Written by Jean-Jacques Annaud and Alain Godard
Starring Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz,
Ed Harris, Bob Hoskins, Ron Perlman,
Eva Mattes, Gabriel Thomson, Ivan Shvedoff
Enemy at the Gates could have been one of the best war movies ever, showing the unique perspective of the Russians during World War II. However, the fact that all the Russians speak in English accents even though the Germans all speak in German accents completely takes me out of the film. Having said that, Enemy at the Gates is still a good movie. It's just trying too hard.
There's a whole love triangle between Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes, and Rachel Weisz that seems immensely out of place. When the film is about the Battle of Stalingrad, one of the most important battles in the war, I am not paying attention to who's going to get the girl. As far as I'm concerned, this film is about a Russian sniper vs. a German sniper to the death. In that aspect, the film does a terrific job. But then you have the awkward and bizarre sex scene in the trenches, which does nothing for the film but does succeed in making me shift uncomfortably and glance at the clock.
Now for the positives. The set design is incredible. The production effectively replicates Stalingrad in 1943. The performances are admirable as well, with Jude Law doing a great job as Russian sniper Vassili Zaitsev. I just wish they had either given everybody an English accent, or given nobody an English accent. Hearing English-speaking Russians referring to Joseph Stalin as "Comrade Stalin" is not only laughable, it is historically inaccurate. This film had some serious potential that was wasted in favor of yet another Hollywood war movie that has simply faded into obscurity.