The first trailer for Netflix’s remake of “All Quiet on the Western Front” has arrived — more than 90 years after the best-selling World War I book of the same name was first adapted for the big screen.
Based on the harrowing 1929 novel by German author and war veteran Erich Maria Remarque, the upcoming film tells the story of Paul Bäumer (Felix Kammerer), a young German who joins the army with lofty dreams of adventure, heroism and national pride.
Bäumer’s naïveté is exposed when he’s assigned to the trenches of the Western Front, where death, terror, starvation, and filth dominate a soldier’s existence. Though he survives the front lines, the lingering psychological burden of war leaves Bäumer feeling like a foreigner in his own home.
“It is a physical, visceral and very modern film that has never been told from my country’s perspective — it has never been made into a German-language film,” director Edward Berger (“Deutschland ‘83” and “Patrick Melrose”) told The Hollywood Reporter when the film was first announced.
“We now have the chance to make an anti-war film that will truly touch our audience.”
Considered one of the greatest war novels of all time, Remarque’s depiction of the ugly realities of combat would eventually make him a target of emerging Nazi ideologies. By the end of 1933, owning a copy of “All Quiet on the Western Front” was considered a crime.
“This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it,” Remarque wrote in the book’s epigraph. “It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped (its) shells, were destroyed by the war.”
The upcoming film stars Daniel Brühl, the 44-year-old Spanish-German actor who rose to international prominence following films like the Formula One thriller “Rush” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds.” On the production side, Berger is joined by Malte Grunert, who previously lent his expertise to the chilling 2015 German film “Land of Mine” and the 2014 American crime drama “A Most Wanted Man” (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams).
If the tone of the trailer is any indication, the film seems poised to continue a trend of highlighting the hellish conditions of The Great War. In recent years, the conflict has taken center stage in Peter Jackson’s (“Lord of the Rings”) groundbreaking documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” and Sam Mendes’ Oscar-winning feature “1917.”
“All Quiet on the Western Front” is slated to land in select theaters in October and on the streaming giant on Oct. 26. Watch the trailer below.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.