Thursday, June 25, 2015

Enemy at the Gates

I watched another movie of few ones that I had downloaded back in 2003 from this sharing Website, Kazza; Enemy at the Gates. It might sound crazy that the movie, in avi format, was recorded on a CD in 30-Nov-2003 and of course  had been downloaded earlier, more than 11 years ago.
I finally asked myself to give it a try a few days ago. Not very impressive movie but OK. The fact is the movie is a combination of two propaganda and exaggeration systems:
1- Hollywood. (The US!)
2- Soviet Union.
The movie is basically the story of a Soviet sniper who in the battle of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) kills quite number of German soldiers and officers and became an aspiration for the people of the city and the resistance forces. The opening scene of the movie, partially reminds me of what I have read several times about Iranian invasions during the devastating 8-year Iran-Iraq War, the usage of human wave. Although this method never worked very well but lack of leadership, training, equipment and weapons made Iranian use this and for that they lost hundreds of thousands of youngsters in the battlefields of war where they practice this method of WWI! The only difference is a brain-washed Iranian volunteer didn't need an officer in the back to shoot at him. Here Islam was stronger than Communism ideology!
Anyways why I said the movie was a result of a Soviet propaganda? Because it is loosely based on a memoir written by the sniper himself, a Vasily Zaytsev. I have not read the book and not even seen it but apparently whatever he has claimed in it, has no other accounts. So in a way he could be another sniper such as American Sniper but we know that it's too late to do an investigation. It has been more than 71 year since Battle of Stalingrad was ended by the German forces surrounding to the Soviets.
So briefly this is the story: Vasily, who is almost a silly village boy is among many soldier that the Soviets have gathered and force them to fight the Germans. At the time Soviets situation was so bad that they had to give a rifle to a soldier and the bullets to the other one, his aid. When the rifle man died, the aid would pick up the rifle and continued his duties. We know at this stage and it's not in the movie that Allies send supply and ammunition to the Soviets through Iran.
I bumped to this Russian gentleman, originally from Volgograd on the Middle Sister trail, last year. We had a nice chat and did part of the trail together but he didn't make it to the summit. I hope he sees this and understands how appreciative I am to him. He showed me the right trail to the summit or I was probably lost or would have wasted hours!
The guy somehow manages to get out of a wave attack alive and shots a few Germans, killing them all with one shot, not wasting a single bullet! This is where the lies begin a I wonder whether this is something put in the movie by the Hollywood guys, which seems a little odd as they always to downgrade their enemies in their movies, or originally in the Zastsev's memoirs. No matter who put that in the story, it seems so unreal. A Political Officer, which was an ordinary position in Soviet armed forced on those days, witnesses this act of bravery and skill and decides to use that as a way of heroism and encourage the citizens to stay and defend. He discusses that with Khrushchev who happened to be one of the commanders at the time of the battle. He later became the Soviet primer. Khrushchev likes the idea and supports the man but then like most of Hollywood movies, a woman emerges in the script to make it more attractive and sexy! I don't know if it is in the actual memories or not but the two soldiers hit it off and make the Political Officer jealous as he is in love of the beauty as well and he decides to ruin the hero's character to avenge him! In the meantime Germans sent a Major to Stalingrad to fight the guy. This guy whom there's no record of him anywhere but in Zaytsev's book enters in to a battle with the Soviet guy and the story is interesting and take you with it but the soundtrack or music is horrible and that was the thing in the movie I disliked the most. The Soviet guy eventually manages to conquer the German sniper and that's about it. Of course I skipped all the detail in order not to spoil the movie for the ones who have not seen it but there's one scene that I like to mention and that's the scene between the lovers! The guy is laying down on the floor with other soldier in a sort of shelter. Everyone is so exhausted and  beat. The girl comes in and they do it while are covered by their winter coats. The scene that the woman, Rachel Weisz, slowly pulls her pants down is very sexy and the whole love making scene between her and Jude Law is amazing and that's what I'm talking about. No matter whether it's a romance (Titanic), a war movie (Enemy at the Gates) or a horror (Fri,, the 13th), there should be a sex scene just to remind you that you have a part of body that should be used in conjunction with a woman's body in order to accomplish an act(!) no matter where you are, even if you are a dirty, stinking, hungry, exhausted soldier in the ruins of Stalingrad
So basically the movie is not about the siege of Stalingrad entirely. It is mostly focused on the sniper. It quiet similar to Patton. Patton is about General George C. Patton and it's named after him. Enemy at the Gates is about Vasily Zaytsev but not named after him. Perhaps they should have named it Soviet Sniper! I would give 3 out of 5 to the movie but it's definitely a multiple-watch. 
(Photo, top: Vasily Zaytsev with his sniper rifle. This gun or one similar to it is kept in a museum in Russia now. The guy was named Hero of the Soviet Union. He died in 15-Dec-1991 just 15 days prior to the official announcement of Soviet Union's dissolution)

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