Stephen F. Morley
EW Staff
November 14, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Enemy at the Gates

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
131 minutes
Wide Release Date
03/16/01
performer
Ed Harris, Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes, Bob Hoskins, Rachel Weisz
director
Jean-Jacques Annaud
Producers
Mandalay Pictures
distributor
Paramount Pictures
author
Jean-Jacques Annaud, Alain Godard
genre
War, Drama

We gave it a C+

War is hell. But sex, that’s even tougher, at least when Annaud (”The Lover”) is behind the camera. ”We shot scenes of troops crossing the Volga River with explosions going off everywhere, and that was no problem,” the director says. ”But when Jude and Rachel [Weisz] have to make love inside a tunnel in a bunker amidst a group of sleeping soldiers, THAT’S a real test of nerve.”

The true story of a World War II duel between a Russian shepherd turned sniper (Law) and a refined German officer (Harris) sent to kill him, the film costars Fiennes as the Soviet propagandist who builds Law’s skilled marksman character into the hope of all Russia. The movie, set against the epic Battle of Stalingrad, is based on a book of interviews with real life survivors on both sides, which lent a certain gravity to the production.

Of course, it wasn’t exactly somber on set. ”It’s interesting to film a movie with such exquisitely polite and good looking men,” says Annaud, who also directed Brad Pitt in ”Seven Years in Tibet.” ”I got the feeling that women were falling for these guys wherever we went.” Da, baby! GOOD SIGN Could be this year’s ”The Talented Private Ryan.” THEN AGAIN Oscar nominee Law hasn’t yet been tested as a leading man.

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