Enemy at the Gates
R
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: -3

In 1942, Hitler's army has pushed through eastern Europe into Russia. Capturing the city of Stalingrad, named for the Soviet leader, will be a personal insult and open the way for conquering all of Russia. The son of a shepherd, Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law), finds himself drafted to fight the advancing Germans. In the bombed out ruins of Stalingrad, he meets propaganda officer Danilov (Joseph Fiennes). When Danilov sees Vassili's sharpshooting skills, he feels the demoralized Soviet army can be encouraged by highlighting Vassili's exploits. As he tells General Krushchev (Bob Hoskins), the Soviet people need a hero to inspire them. As Vassili's success as a sniper takes its toll on the German leadership, the Nazi's bring in their own top sniper, Major Konig (Ed Harris), to hunt Vassili. While the war rages around them, two professionals fight a very personal battle. Based on true events and people, audiences will find this tense action drama enthralls while presenting a different view of World War II.

Like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, the scenes of war battles are intense and show graphic, bloody wounds. Crossing the Volga River into Stalingrad, as German aircraft strafe the troops, echoes the bloody D-Day invasion with boats exploding, bodies floating in the water and blood splattering deaths. The demoralization is evident as Soviet officers shoot their own retreating troops. Frequent head wounds give tribute to the sniper's aim and in one scene, Vassilli lies among dead bodies waiting for his target. One scene features graphic sexual movement and female rear nudity. The sniper corps celebrate their victories with song and drink, acknowledging that the next day may be their last. Vassili not only accepts his position as propaganda image, but also takes time to personally answer letters from his admirers. Although Danilov shows some jealousy when they are both attracted to Tania (Rachel Weisz), he helps Vassili learn about Konig as well as promoting him as a hero. Krushchev uses a few obscenities, but the intense and graphic, gory war violence becomes gratuitous and offensive. However realistic the scenes, ENEMY AT THE GATES concentrates too much on gruesome deaths.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Summary
Crude Language: Few (4) times - Moderate
Obscene Language: Few (4) times - S-word 3, other
Profanity: Few (3) times - Exclamatory
Violence: Many times - Severe (graphic bullet wounds, explosions, graphic head wounds, many war casualties, boy hanged, man sticks gun in mouth)
Sexual Intercourse: Once (graphic motion w/brief nudity)
Nudity: Once (female rear in sex scene)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Sensual kissing once
Drug Abuse: Few times - cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking
Other: Birds peck at dead bodies, vomiting, implied suicide man says army needs heroic examples to give pride & hope, man feels important to answer fan mail, flatulence blows out candle, woman lied to about dead son
Running Time: 129 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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