'Enemy at the Gates' - High-Def Digest Review - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:54 PM
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Default 'Enemy at the Gates' - High-Def Digest Review

David's review of 'Enemy at the Gates' is locked and loaded. He says this war film falls short of the genre's best effort. This Blu-ray has acceptable video and audio and a few good extras. Worth a look.

Full review here:
http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/2161/enemygates.html
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Old 05-26-2009, 02:02 PM
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I like the movie a lot but I agree with the reviewer that it's weekest point is that it actually tries to make believe that the outcome of the Battle of Stalingrad was decided by two snipers. This is totally ridiculous. The Battle of Stalingrad was not even decided in Stalingrad itself but 100 kilometers to the west when the Soviet Army managed to break through the German lines cutting off the German 6thArmy. All attacks by the Germans to break through to the encircled army were repelled. Subsequently in long battle of attrition the 6th Army was wiped out. That's history but this is a movie not a documentary and as a movie it works.

One final remark: I don't understand why it would be more authentic if the actors spoke English with Russian or German accents. It would be authentic if they spoke Russian or German, the original languages, with subtitles, like they did it with The Passion of the Christ. This strange argument of non-authenticity was brought forward also against Valkyrie on account of the accent-free English. Real strange.
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Old 05-26-2009, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Konrad View Post
One final remark: I don't understand why it would be more authentic if the actors spoke English with Russian or German accents. It would be authentic if they spoke Russian or German, the original languages, with subtitles, like they did it with The Passion of the Christ. This strange argument of non-authenticity was brought forward also against Valkyrie on account of the accent-free English. Real strange.
It's a matter of degrees. Ideally, they should speak the authentic language. Failing that, they should at least try to speak in some semblance of the correct nationality's accent. The combination of both speaking the wrong language and using an accent of a completely different nationality just makes suspension of disbelief more difficult.

You can get away with that sort of thing in a movie about a dead culture, like the ancient Greeks or Romans (which are usually depicted speaking English with British accents). But Germany and Russia are still very active cultures that everyone is familiar with.
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Old 05-26-2009, 02:38 PM
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It's a matter of degress. Ideally, they should speak the authentic language. Failing that, they should at least try to speak in some semblance of the correct nationality's accent. The combination of both speaking the wrong language and using an accent of a completely different nationality just makes suspension of disbelief more difficult.

You can get away with that sort of thing in a movie about a dead culture, like the ancient Greeks or Romans (which are usually depicted speaking English with British accents). But Germany and Russia are still very active cultures that everyone is familiar with.


I hate when they do it with the Spanish language. Happens way too much.
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Old 05-26-2009, 03:21 PM
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I have to disagree on the movie itself. 4/5 for me. But to each his own.


Its really dissapointing to hear about AQ/PQ. Was hoping this would sound badass in lossless. I'll just have to wait for cheap. I wonder if its not woth getting the import.
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Old 05-26-2009, 04:22 PM
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I have to disagree on the movie itself. 4/5 for me. But to each his own.

Its really dissapointing to hear about AQ/PQ. Was hoping this would sound badass in lossless. I'll just have to wait for cheap. I wonder if its not woth getting the import.
Well, well.... to each his own, huh? Unless its me.

Anyways, my brother has the HD DVD and he says the sound is excellent on it. I rented the blu-ray and felt the PQ and AQ were both very good to excellent. Its not a reference disc but its easily a big upgrade over any DVD version.

I liked the film a lot myself.
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:36 PM
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Well in an effort to stir up controversy, I would have to mention that in the blu-ray.com screen captures this film seems to have some EE in it.
For instance in the shot of the guy holding the rifle, the buildings have outlines against the grey sky. The shot filled with papers appears to have outlines as well.
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Old 05-27-2009, 03:21 AM
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This movie fares better than 2.5 stars in my book, but I see David's points. Nice review.

On the matter of accents, I'm not sure it would have worked better if all the actors had tried to speak with Russian accents. Even an accent that is only slightly off is very annoying. For instance Sam Neill's accent in Red October doesn't sound quite genuine to me and thus I find it pretty grating, as much as like the actor. I think the best thing to do is to let actors speak in their natural accents and just try to tone down strong, highly recognizable regional accents (say, Scottish or Texan ).
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:24 AM
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The film's deliberate pacing often slows the action to a snail's pace........

.....as does the interminable gamesmanship between the two men, which drags on far longer than it needs to.
It's a film about snipers.... they don't run around blowing shit up like Mark Wahlberg in that crap-heap "shooter". They stay really really really still for many hours. The fact that this film slowed down it's pace to reflect that and increase the tension is one of it's strengths. It's a not a perfect film by all means, it gets a bit muddled in it's dwelling on Joseph Fiennes' character, he's not as important as the film wants him to be and he should have had some of his stuff cut out. But it gets almost everything else right (for a film, not historically), this is a solid 4/5.

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And what is it with the accents in this film? All the Russians speak with a British accent, and all the Germans sound American. Call me a purist, but this really bugged me. I mean, how hard could it be to hire a dialect coach so the characters could sound authentic? If Sean Connery and Sam Neill can tackle Russian accents, however briefly, in 'The Hunt for Red October,' then surely Law, Fiennes, and Weisz are capable of doing the same thing. All are accomplished actors, and they make 'Enemy at the Gates' better than it otherwise might have been, but it's jarring to listen to a man like Fiennes with such strong English inflections hand out Communist propaganda. At times, I had to remind myself I was watching the Battle of Stalingrad and not the London Blitz.
Sean Connery's utterly terrible Russian accent is basically the reason why people talk in their own accents in movies today. An actor should try and speak the foreign language if possible. However, especially in a big film like this where there are a lot of people, getting them all to speak Russian and German increases the complexity and cost of making the film (also it decreases it's marketability), so it's not practical. If they did get them all to put on a fake accent, what's would be the point and who would it benefit? It would just be insulting to the native speakers of that language because they still wouldn't be able to understand what was being said. Do you think it will make you forget you are watching Jude Law and Ed Harris? No.. you have to put the conceit of "famous people acting" aside when you watch a film anyway. Once those well known actors start putting on a (probably crap) fake accent on, it makes it harder to watch the film.. not easier. Ron Perlman puts on an accent in this film in an attempt to blend in with the English actors.. he shouldn't have bothered because he just sounds Australian, which is more distracting than hearing him just speak with his natural accent.

If you watched this excellent war film and kept getting distracted thinking it was set in the blitz then you really weren't paying much attention. That would also explain the rating you've given it.

Where do you find this reviewer HDD?
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by joeymac View Post
It's a film about snipers.... they don't run around blowing shit up like Mark Wahlberg in that crap-heap "shooter". They stay really really really still for many hours. The fact that this film slowed down it's pace to reflect that and increase the tension is one of it's strengths. It's a not a perfect film by all means, it gets a bit muddled in it's dwelling on Joseph Fiennes' character, he's not as important as the film wants him to be and he should have had some of his stuff cut out. But it gets almost everything else right (for a film, not historically), this is a solid 4/5.



Sean Connery's utterly terrible Russian accent is basically the reason why people talk in their own accents in movies today. An actor should try and speak the foreign language if possible. However, especially in a big film like this where there are a lot of people, getting them all to speak Russian and German increases the complexity and cost of making the film (also it decreases it's marketability), so it's not practical. If they did get them all to put on a fake accent, what's would be the point and who would it benefit? It would just be insulting to the native speakers of that language because they still wouldn't be able to understand what was being said. Do you think it will make you forget you are watching Jude Law and Ed Harris? No.. you have to put the conceit of "famous people acting" aside when you watch a film anyway. Once those well known actors start putting on a (probably crap) fake accent on, it makes it harder to watch the film.. not easier. Ron Perlman puts on an accent in this film in an attempt to blend in with the English actors.. he shouldn't have bothered because he just sounds Australian, which is more distracting than hearing him just speak with his natural accent.

If you watched this excellent war film and kept getting distracted thinking it was set in the blitz then you really weren't paying much attention. That would also explain the rating you've given it.

Where do you find this reviewer HDD?
I agree with you. Too often, the fake accents are wrong or distracting. This film was a fun cat n mouse sniper game with some intense battle sequences and a different look at WW II from another countrys perspective. Who cares about the right languages being spoken? I can deal with subtitles but I would prefer to NOT deal with them if possible. Id prefer English being spoken in all films if possible. And, if I was in Germany, Id want the films all in german or whatever country Im in.
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