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It`s 1942, and the Battle of Stalingrad, which changed the course of World War II when the Red Army stopped Hitler`s juggernaut in its tracks, is raging. Danilov, Joseph Fiennes, a young political commisar, is impressed by the marksmanship skills of the peasant Vassili, Jude Law, and, because the country needs heroes, proposes to Kruschev, Bob Hoskins, that Vassili`s prowess with a rifle be publicised. The Germans respond by bringing their own crack shooter to Stalingrad - Major Koenig, Ed Harris, whose job is to eliminate Vassili..Hard on the heels of Pearl Harbor, with its banal triangular love story, comes another puerile war film - and it`s sad to see the usually talented Jean-Jacques Annaud has fallen into the trap of turning one of the great tragedies, and triumphs, of the 20th Century into a Hollywoodised soap opera. Not only are Vassili and Danilov in love with the same woman, a soldier played by Rachel Weisz, but the conflict between the Russian crack shot and his German counterpart becomes a kind of High Noon in Stalingrad. It`s a pity the screenplay is so awful, because there are some superbly staged scenes of conflict, the opening, as new troops cross the Volga River into the beseiged city under withering German fire, is very derivative of Saving Private Ryan, but it still impresses. The accents are all over the place: Jude Law`s peasant sounds like a working class Brit, Bob Hoskins` Kruschev is a cockney bully, and Eva Mattes, playing a member of the proletariat reduced to living in a cellar, has been dubbed with a voice more suited to a woman having afternoon tea at Claridges.Comments from Margaret PomeranzIt seems clear that Jean-Jacques Annaud has a dilemma on his hands. With one he wants to make films with a distinctively European ?feel? and with the other he wants to appeal to a broad audience of cinema-goers. And that dilemma can be discerned in his latest film Enemy at the Gates. He?s chosen one of the most devastating scenarious of World War 2 as his subject matter, the Siege of Stalingrad, about the Wehrmacht onslaught on the politically sensitive city, named after the Soviet leader no less, that took an enormous toll of human life on both sides. Having chosen a grand landscape he tends to trivialise the conflict by reducing it to a cat and mouse hunt between two sharpshooters from opposing sides. Yes, we get to understand the political significance of the city and the role that Zaitsev plays in the game of propganda, but there?s not a lot of grandeur to the whole concept. Joseph Fiennes is unable to convince as the political officer, Jude Law has his charisma to work with but not a lot else, the only one with slight substance is Ed Harris whose quietness has a ability to disturb. The casting is what really places the film in a no-man?s land between Europe and the U.S. The early scenes of slaughter as the troops cross the Volga are shattering but too reminiscent of the early scenes in Saving Private Ryan. Enemy at the Gates, despite its centrepiece of the confrontation between the two snipers, surprisingly lacks tension. One would wish to be devastated by this film, but that possibility is disappointingly remote.