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Enemy at the Gates

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United Kingdom, France, Germany · 2001
Rated R · 2h 11m
Director Jean-Jacques Annaud
Starring Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Ed Harris
Genre Drama, History, War

In 1942, Russian sharpshooter Vassili has become somewhat of a legend for his marksmanship and bravery. His friend Commissar Danilov, a political officer, makes Vassili the face of his propaganda campaign. As a result, Vassili has a target on his back and must avoid the attempts of an expert German sniper to take down Russia's wartime hero.

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What are critics saying?


Salon by Andrew O'Hehir

This is spectacle cinema made with individual flair; maybe someone in Hollywood will notice that it's still possible.


Slate by David Edelstein

He (Annaud) doesn't have a clue how to dramatize the romance. Fiennes, whose eyes are extremely close together, stares with a mixture of rage and longing at Weisz, whose eyes are extremely far apart, and the film turns into "The Dating Game" designed by Picasso.


Washington Post by Desson Thomson

As long as you focus on the central sniper-versus-sniper story -- and not the dreadful mishmash of jarring accents or the film's unconvincing romantic subplot or any of the personal relationships -- you'll enjoy it.

90 by Gemma Files

Though issues of politics and philosophy are touched upon, this is a film about the people inside the uniforms -- a story of human beings under pressure, forced by circumstance to make choices both impulsive and, on occasion, heroic. It's also the new year's single most satisfying movie experience thus far.


New York Daily News by Jami Bernard

The sniper's life is a lonely one, full of shallow breathing and delayed gratification. Solitary as it is, Jude Law manages to get a little action in the bunkers of wartime Stalingrad in the ambitious but sometimes inadvertently silly Enemy at the Gates.


Los Angeles Times by Kenneth Turan

Has little to occupy us once its battle scenes recede. One of those goofy movies where devil-may-care Russian soldiers unwind by playing the balalaika far into the night, it takes itself far more seriously than anyone else will be able to manage.


New York Post by Lou Lumenick

Enemy at the Gates, is no "Saving Private Ryan" - but thrilling, bravura stretches make it consistently entertaining, if less than profound, filmmaking.


San Francisco Chronicle by Mick LaSalle

At times, the sight of reserved English actors slapping, hugging and acting all Russian looks bizarre, though one casting choice is prime: Bob Hoskins has the ideal air of impish menace in the featured role of Khrushchev.

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