Plot: What’s it about?
In the midst of a brutal, horrific battle, a young Russian soldier named Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law) was able to not only survive, but take down some important German officers. This was done while countless men were being gunned down around him, as he used a gun from a corpse and five bullets to make his impact. His actions turned him into an instant hero to the Russian forces, who were in a dire position and needed the inspiration. In response to this, the Germans dispatch their ace sniper Erwin Konig (Ed Harris) to put down the newly crowned Russian hero. As the hunt begins and both men work to take down the other, their paths cross in unexpected ways, but which one will survive?
This film is based on real life events, but as always, dramatic license is present. In fact, several groups voiced displeasure on how certain elements were handled, which leads me to believe Enemy at the Gates is more dramatic license than not. Which is fine, but when you deal with events as serious as these, some historic accuracy should be retained. So as a history lesson, Enemy at the Gates fails, but what about as entertainment? I do like how a world-wide event is made so personal, as it helps us to connect with the material, but most of the film is mishandled. The love triangle in specific hampers the film’s impact, as it draws attention off the more important elements. The performances here are strong across the board however, which makes it a shame the cast wasn’t given more to work with. Enemy at the Gates has its moments, but numerous other films cover all these bases and do so in better form, so Enemy at the Gates isn’t recommended.
Video: How does it look?
Enemy at the Gates is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. I don’t think this transfer is going to wow anyone, but it is a welcome improvement over the DVD. The visual design here skews the colors, so the image doesn’t look natural, but this treatment upholds the intended vision. So the colors look as they should, with some moments of boldness that I didn’t expect. In terms of detail, this is rock solid throughout. A few standout moments, but most scenes just look very good and again, depth here puts the DVD to shame. So not a home run transfer, but for this material, more than adequate.
Audio: How does it sound?
This Dolby TrueHD 5.1 option is all that consistent, but it provides enough kick to be a cut above average. This is a war movie, which means battle scenes and of course, those stand out, audio-wise. The gunshots and explosions ring out in powerful form, so you will feel the impact in those moments. A few sequences outside of the battles also provide great surround use, but for the most part, these scenes are rather reserved. So not much in terms of atmosphere or what not, this track is either loud or silent, in terms of surround use. The music sounds good and dialogue is clear, so no worries there. This disc also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes two promotional featurettes, some deleted scenes, and the film’s theatrical trailer.