Friday already

…and all I have watched this week is Sesame Street, Veggie Tales, Sesame Street, American Chopper, Sesame Street, news, Sesame Street… you get the idea.

Actually, last weekend the Webmaster and I stayed up really late and watched Enemy at the Gates (it was on TNT). Now, please keep in mind that the movie was edited for TV, add commercials in, so I really probably didn’t see the whole movie. But I saw enough to enjoy most of it.

Set in the brutal Russian winter of 1942, this movie shows the Battle of Stalingrad, where an outnumbered Russian army was attempting to outlast the Nazis. Out of this protracted battle comes a peasant marksman, played by Jude Law, who is elevated to hero status by the Communist propaganda news machine (and a semi-unscrupulous Joseph Fiennes), whose reported exploits earn him a target on his forehead by the Nazis. Called in to take him out is a Nazi major (Ed Harris), a celebrated sniper who engages his Russian counterpart in a psychological cat-and-mouse game for most of the movie.

It is rated R, but it is a pretty good war movie, as told by the perspectives that an American audience can’t necessarily identify with. As far as the acting goes, Bob Hoskins absolutely steals every scene he’s in (he plays future Russian premier Nikita Khrushchev), and while I’m not a Jude Law fan, he does pretty well as the overwhelemed, reluctant hero. Ditto with Joseph Fiennes, who does so many flip-flops of personality in the movie that it’s hard to keep track of his motives. Ed Harris is suitably nasty as the Nazi major, with his one slightly compassionate moment wiped out completely by a heinous act near the end of the movie. And rounding out the cast is Rachel Weisz (who I liked much better in The Mummy – she has so much more spunk and ability than this role), who gets to be the obligatory girl-in-the-middle whose job it is to fulment jealousy between Law and Fiennes (guess who wins, ha ha – this is a movie, after all).

Yes, violent. Yes, sex. Yes, hard to watch in spots. And yes, we are clearly meant to root for the Communists, but we see that they aren’t perfect either – a bit part by character actor Ron Perlman (aka Hellboy for those of you who have seen that movie) as a disgruntled Russian soldier who has experienced Soviet brutality firsthand opens up the notion that the Communists – and Stalin – may not be the ideal post-war model to have.

No kids under 14 or so should watch this movie, even the TV-sanitized version – not many under that age would even be interested in it, probably. It is as much a psychological battle of the wills as it is a war movie, but it has plenty of twists (some historically correct, some not, as this movie is based off a real series of events and people), and is never boring.

Have a good weekend, everyone – keep cool if the weather heats up, and keep London in your prayers.

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