The film opened the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, and it could be one of the big Netflix hits of the fall. A brutal war film, but presented as “intimate” by its director Edward Berger, Nothing New in the West does indeed have the makings of an event. It may seem surprising, but this is only the second film adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s famous World War I novel, after the 1930 adaptation directed by Lewis Milestone. Moreover, it is the first German adaptation of the work.
The film, Nothing New in the West, tells the story of Paul Baümer, a young German of 19 years who, galvanized by the patriotic and warlike speeches, voluntarily enlists in the German army and joins the fighting of the First World War. He soon discovers, surrounded by his comrades, the total horror of war.
Edward Berger’s film seems to have seduced the public, and the first returns of the American press evoke an admirably produced film, brutal and successful in its pacifist speech.
Therefore, for Pete Hammond of Deadline, Nothing New West is a success, whereas it was not at all won.
It is very complicated to remake a film considered a classic (and still one of the best war films ever made, 92 years after its release), and also to rethink something that won the Oscar for Best Picture. Edward Berger and his co-writers, Lesley Paterson and Ian Stokell, and their fabulous team of technicians should be commended for their attempt, which turns out to be very successful.
Journalist Fionnuala Halligan speaks of the success of Nothing New in the West, which does not opt for an original approach but assumes the classic form of the genre, and succeeds in its anti-war speech.