Monday, October 20, 2008

Enemy at the Gates......A review

The movie Enemy at the Gates shows the battle of Stalingrad, Russia through the Russian point of view. At the battle, the Germans and Russians fought over the ruined, once industrialized, city. The main idea that the movie portrayed, along with the brutality and reality of war, was how important one man could be in determining victory or defeat. Vassili Zaitsev, played by Jude Law, was a Russian sniper and main character of the movie. 

In real life, Zaitsev had over 140 confirmed German kills. The fame of Zaitsev and his kills raised Russian morale and made the German’s propaganda and efforts fall to uselessness. Being such a threat to the German army, Major Konig, the top German sniper who probably also served in WWI, was sent to Stalingrad to eliminate Zaitsev. 

After the two snipers played cat and mouse with each other for some days, Zaitsev began to underestimate his capability of defeating Konig. Konig, an older and wiser man, had Zaitsev trapped in a destroyed factory, but was saved by Tania, a girl who volunteered to fight and fell in love with Zaitsev. After this, the two played cat and mouse again and it seemed the game would never end. Sacha, a boy who helped spy on Konig for the Russians, led Konig into Zaitsev’s sights on more than one occasion. Having little patience for the boy, Konig hung him. As the movie reached the climax, Danilov, Zaitsev’s closest friend, having betrayed him because of his own selfish feelings for Tania, steps out of safety to do the one good thing he considers himself of being capable of-showing Zaitsev where Konig is by being shot. In the end, having lost Danilov, Sacha, and probably Tania, Zaitsev flanks Konig and shoots the German sniper just as he realizes he is as good as dead. With the battle over, Zaitsev finds his wounded Tania and must live on happily together. 

Throughout the movie, Russian officers punished their own men’s “cowardice” by death. To be on the Russian side must have surely meant death to the average soldier. To me, having All-American ideals, the thought of these men being shot down by the enemy and the ally was horrifying. 

In one scene at the beginning of the movie, as the Russian soldiers crossed the Volga River and being shot up by German planes and mortar, any man who jumped out of the passenger boat to try to escape the madness, if not shot by enemy guns, was shot by their leading officials as they swam away in fear. Another scene in which this harsh Russian military ideal was portrayed was when, once the remaining soldiers landed on the shore, they were told to rush the waiting Germans. With only half of the men carrying guns, they did as they were told. However, soon after they realized it was sure death to keep going, they turned around to retreat. Unfortunately for them, the way back was just as deadly. The Russian officers mowed down the cowards. Any soldier hoping to survive had to lie down amongst the dead bodies and play dead as well. The last and most evident episode that depicted this brutal way of honoring the “Mother Land” was when the head officer in charge of the Russian failure was told by his commander that he might as well shoot himself and save the commander’s time. 

I’m sorry, for an army to be loosing thousands of men a day, loosing the appreciation of their own people, and need a raise in morale badly; it is just insane to kill one’s own men. I guess, however, the only reason I think this way is because I haven’t had to live like those officers did. Besides Vietnam I believe, our military has not had to draft unwilling men into their services. And even then, I can not recall a time when our men were shot if they ran away. True cowardice is not an un-honorable thing, but there are times when even the bravest of all men must feel a little insecure. With all the men who fought and died in our American wars, American soldiers must have believed in something they fight to the death over, but for the majority of those Russian men who ran away, the communist ideas of Stalin must not have been important enough to die for. I guess it must be that something that all those Americans died for that causes me to think the way I do.

A Composition on Fate

Fate, is it fact or fiction? Do we believe that we are completely free to do what ever we want and that we alone create our destiny, or are we fated to follow some decided path and no matter what we do we are predestined to live out our life according to someone's plan? Now maybe the bigger question is how do we justify which way is right and which is wrong. I believe that each person develops their own opinion through personal encounters and experiences, and the only correct path is the one that the person believes in and lets that person live their life to its fullest. 

The people who truly believe in the whole concept of fate are the ones who have it easy. They can look at any situation and say that the outcome, whatever it may be, is because of fate and was meant to be. These are the people who can go skydiving with no fear because they believe that if it is their fate to live, great, if it's their fate to die, well hell it was meant to be. They take the responsibility of their life out of their own hands and put it into the hands of a mystic force called fate. Now that is one hell of a concept. Personally, if I 'm going to do something crazy and stupid, I will be sure all the proper precautions are taken and not count on fate to handle all the details. 

Then there are the people who believe that their life is completely in their hands and they themselves mold their destiny through their choices and actions. To me this opinion requires way too much worrying and stress on their part if they truly practice it in their daily lives. But it also provides a sense of freedom and independence to do with your life as you please and live your life how you want it. To me, these types of people generally don't take as many risks as the others because they are worried about the consequences that might damage the life they have created. It is like when you build a pyramid out of playing cards. You pick out the best looking cards, the strong and secure ones, and are always ever so careful placing each pair on so that you don't knock down the entire thing. A life like that is what heart attacks and ulcers feed on. I just think that life is too short to worry about all of life's little things. 

Now what I believe in is a little different. I believe in fate very much so, but also in living our life freely to make our own decisions to mold our life. I conceive fate not as some imaginary mystic force, but a very alive power in all our lives, God. I don't want to sound preachy and I don't think God decides everything, but I do believe that certain things happen for a reason. I sense that we are free to live out our lives how we see fit and that we help to shape our destiny through our actions and our experiences, but I strongly believe in another force out there intervening from time to time and makes things happen for whatever reason. This is where the concept of fate comes in. 

Whether you live your life throwing caution to the wind or like a house of cards, you should simply live your life out to its fullest and not take either belief to an extreme. There is a healthy median out there, so find it, live it, and love it. Live out live however you see fit and govern your actions accordingly, because after all it is your life and you only got one.

The Void after Love

Sometimes life is not meant to go your way. It takes such a wild turn that one just does not realise the way things are going. Maybe its just a prefabricated sequence by The Almighty that one is supposed to follow. There is nothing like true love on this planet. You think about stuff in one way, but it's very difficult or next to impossible I did say to gauge what's going on other's mind. So that is love and life. Pretty much dumb and pretty much complicated to understand for a 16 year old. Soccer is probably the only thing that may not ditch you ever in your life. Zlatan scores and your heart rises in pride with the tumult of applause at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. Van Persie strikes and you roar with the some 65000 fans at The Ashtonbury Grove. Life satiates it's thirst for joy with materialistic things. For in this case that I mention it is the world religion of soccer. Arsenal FC and Internazionale may fall and rise but wont ever perish so soon. Such is not in the case of true love.Even if one were to traverse all the roads in the world, never would he find true love. It is all but a play of the human mind. You think of someone day and night. Every beat of your drum, echoes their memories. Every drop of her water has their reflection in it. Every grain of sand on the earth has their face niched onto it. But when they let you go, it all fades away. One clean stroke and it's all gone. A kick of the football into the goal. A light swirl of wind blowing past your face. The first drop of rain falling against your face. It's as momentary as that materialistic ecstasy.   But indeed love is a potent drug, that takes you on a high. Even the most effective and convincing drug peddler in the world can sell you no drug that replicates the joy of love. Its a joy as tender as the purring of a kitten. A joy as innocent as the gold fish swimming in your fish bowl. But whatever it may resemble, it is but momentary. And the moment it snaps away, Life is but a never ending blot of void.         

The AG