Enemy at the Gates

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Enemy at the Gates
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IMDb: 7.5
In 1942, a year after the German invasion of the  Soviet Union during World War II, Red Army soldier   Vassili Zaitsev is on a train to Stalingrad,  thinking about the time his grandfather taught him   how to shoot a rifle while hunting. On the train  with him, there are hundreds of other soldiers,   but also various civilians, including Tania  Chernova, who Vassili notices but doesn't dare   to speak to. The civilians leave in the middle of  the journey while the soldiers are dropped right   in the middle of the Battle of Stalingrad. They  need to board a boat to reach the front lines, and   the enemy takes advantage of this, dropping bombs  and opening fire on them as soon as they see them.   Many soldiers fall, and when seeing this,  others jump in the water trying to escape,   only to be shot by their own superior officers for  deserting. Once they reach the docks, only one of   every two soldiers is given a rifle, the other  is given bullets and instructions to follow the   soldier with a weapon. The group is forced into a  suicidal charge that the Germans easily overpower,   and Vassili -who was given bullets- barely  survives the assault by staying close to   the ground and pretending to be dead. Once  again, soldiers that try to escape are shot   by their own side, considering them cowards and  traitors. Soon the area is covered with bodies,   with nobody alive in sight, until a few  moments later, a car tries to cross the area.   A tank shell hits it and knocks it over, and out  of it comes Commissar Danilov, who rushes to hide   inside a fountain, pretending to be another body  in the pile and miraculously not getting killed   when a group of Germans drive by and shoot at the  bodies to make sure there aren't any survivors.   Once they're gone, Danilov takes a rifle from one  of the bodies and tries to shoot some soldiers he   can see in a nearby building, but the weapon is  out of ammo. At that moment, Danilov discovers   he actually isn't the only one alive in the  fountain: Vassili has been hiding there as well,   and he asks him for his rifle so he can load it  with the bullets he was given when he arrived.   Vassili also tells him he should wait for an  explosion to shoot so they aren't discovered,   but since Danilov is a political commissar, his  experience with weapons is limited, so he lets   Vassili have the rifle instead. As another car  with soldiers arrives, Vassili moves behind a hole   on the fountain wall and as soon as he hears  an explosion, he starts shooting each German   one by one on the head with absolute efficiency.  Hours later, once they have been rescued and taken   back to headquarters, Danilov prints a series of  pamphlets detailing Vassili's heroic feat. Many   days later, Chairman Nikita Khrushchev arrives at  Stalingrad to coordinate the defense of the city,   since Stalingrad is a symbol of Stalin's power  and they can't afford to lose it. Furious after   hearing about yet another loss, he demands ideas  from his subordinates on how to improve morale,   but most of the soldiers just repeat the same  ineffective tactics they've been using for years.   Danilov however, proposes something different:  he thinks that instead of punishment,   they must deliver hope. They should create a hero  and inspire people, to make them want to protect   the motherland, and he has the perfect hero for  that job. Danilov's idea is approved and he gets   promoted to senior lieutenant. Vassili's face  now appears in the newspaper, presenting him as   an example to follow. He's also been promoted, in  his case, to the sniper division. From then on,   Vassili becomes the face of the Russian army,  both a national hero and propaganda icon,   and his exploits would appear on every edition  of the army's newspaper, plus on pamphlets that   would make their way all over the walls of the  country. One day, during one of his missions,   Vassili and his team are found by a young boy  called Sacha Filippov, who admires Vassili.   He invites him to his very humble home, where  his mother Mrs. Filippov prepares him dinner as   thanks for what he's done for their homeland. Soon  after they make it there, Danilov arrives as well,   bringing letters from Vassili's fans from all over  the country. To keep up with the plan of hope and   propaganda, Danilov makes him reply to all of  them, although he's the one that tells Vassili   what to write, especially since he has to help  him with spelling. One more person arrives after   they begin: Tania, the girl from the train,  who is like a sister to Sacha and has become   a private in the local militia. She's also fluent  in German because she's studied at the university.   Danilov wants to recruit her because they  need more soldiers that understand German,   but Tania would rather stay and fight, especially  since the local militia are short on men. She   changes her mind when Danilov explains how much  she could help them by decoding Geramn intel,   and that he'll send one dozen soldiers in exchange  for every person that speaks German. Meanwhile,   the German army is starting to suffer the toll  Vassili and his team of snipers are causing in   their ranks, so they summon German Major Erwin  König, a renowned marksman and head of the German   Army sniper school at Zossen. He's tasked with  killing Vassili, and König prepares a plan to make   Vassili come to him instead of doing the chasing.  Some hours later, Vassili is woken up from a nap   by his team because there's some trouble in the  department store sector. Vassili shoots a shadow   in the window and a helmet falls, so believing  they've hit their target, he takes Ludmila with   him to find the body. The companion they leave  behind is shot as soon as they're gone. The duo   makes it inside the department store and sneaks  around until they reach the window, only to find   that the shape they had seen is a mannequin posed  to make it look like a sniper. This is obviously   a trap, and when Vassili finds a cigarette butt on  the ground he realizes their enemy is still there,   watching them. He thinks they should take it easy  and stay hidden until they think of a proper plan   to escape, but as planes start arriving and  bombing the area, Ludmila gets scared and   runs away, giving König the perfect chance to  shoot her, but Vassili escapes before König can   do the same to him as well. König returns to the  hideout he's staying at and gets his shoes cleaned   by Sacha, who pretends to be an innocent bystander  but is passing König information about Vassili in   exchange for food so the major will trust him and  share information of his whereabouts in return.   When the Red Army learns that the Germans are  using König, they bring over a former student   of his, Koulikov, to teach Vassili how König  thinks and help him kill him. Before returning to   the field however, Vassili must attend a special  party in his honor. After saying hello to Tania,   he's dragged by Khrushchev to see the journalists,  answer questions, take pictures and look at   a giant Stalin painting, because according to  Khrushchev, he's always watching over his country.   Seeing the painting makes Vassili think of the  day his grandfather taught him to shoot again,   it turns out he failed his first shot and that  allowed the wolf to reach their horse and eat it.   Some days later, Vassili, Koulikov  and another member of the sniper team,   Volodya, enter an abandoned building where  they have been told they could find König.   As they sneak around as carefully as possible,  they find a body in a shooting position,   posed like the last trap: this means they're on  the right track. After crossing an open area and   luckily avoiding all bullets from the enemy, they  manage to shoot two different repair guys before   it's time for dinner. Volodya leaves his partners  for a moment to retrieve the soup he had been   heating in another room, but gets captured in the  way. König and his team try to make him confess   where Vassili is hiding, but since Volodya won't  talk, they dress him up as their own and send him   out to pretend he's another repair guy. Without  knowing who it really is, Koulikov immediately   kills him, revealing their location on purpose  so when he makes a helmet appear at the window,   the enemy will shoot it and reveal their location  as well. König doesn't fall for the trap,   so the duo decides to relocate, but when they  jump an open section of the floor, König takes the   chance and shoots Koulikov while Vassili escapes  safely. This constant chase between Vassili   and König is taking too long, and an impatient  Khrushchev is starting to get on Danilov's back.   After their meeting, Danilov goes to see Tania  to bring her a gift and try to court her,   but she surprises him by asking to be reassigned.  Some hours later, Vassili returns to headquarters   and his mood isn't the best: he's never seen  a shot like he's seen today, and thinks König   may be too good for him to beat. Danilov promises  him they're getting new intel and that next time,   Vassili will be one or perhaps even more steps  ahead of him, so he has nothing to worry about.   But he does ask for a favour in return: he  wants Vassili to talk to Tania and convince   her not to ask for that transfer. When Vassili  tries to do so, Tania explains that she asked to   be transferred because earlier in the morning,  she learned her parents were among a group of   prisoners that were executed by the Germans, and  she wants to go there and fight. Understanding   her need for revenge, Vassili gives her Koulikov's  rifle. After Sacha shares information with both of   them, König and Vassili go to the same abandoned  building, thinking they will surprise the other.   While König waits at an elevated platform,  Vassili and his sniper partner enter through   and hide behind the pipes, the shaking of which  alerts König of their position. As soon as the duo   tries to move, König shoots them, causing Vassili  to lose his rifle and his companion to get hurt.   Vassili sends his partner back to headquarters  since he can't do anything in that state, and   while the sniper makes his way back into the pipe,  Vassili tries to recover his rifle by tying some   rope to a knife and throwing it at the weapon to  drag him towards him, but when he finally manages   to land it correctly, König cuts the rope with an  easy shot. When some German planes fly by dropping   some bombs, they shatter the glass roof, and some  of the shards fall in front of Vassili, giving   König a full view of his face. At headquarters,  Danilov is trying to convince Tania not to fight,   that her skills are more valuable in the  intellectual field. Their argument is interrupted   by the returning sniper, who tells them what  happened. Tania doesn't hesitate to go through   the same pipe route to reach him in order to help,  but as soon as he sees her, Vassili tells her to   stay where she is and follow his plan. The same  way König has been watching him through the glass,   Vassili has also use a shard to watch him in  return, and thanks to this he knows his location.   He asks Tania to grab another piece of glass and  turn it until the light reflects on it and blinds   König, creating an opening for Vassili to safely  recover his rifle and shoot him. He doesn't manage   to kill König, but he does hurt his hand. Later,  when Vassili and Tania return to headquarters,   they celebrate being alive with the rest soldiers,  and afterward, they hide under the covers and make   love right in the middle of the communal bedroom.  The next morning, Vassili asks Danilov to stop   writing about him - he can't carry this weight on  his shoulders anymore, and he wants to fight as a   regular soldier. Danilov doesn't accept this and  to manipulate Vassili into feeling bad for even   asking, he brings over Sacha, who shows him how  proud he is for having gotten intel from König.   With the kid looking at him with some much hope  in his eyes, Vassili can't say no, and he allows   Sacha to guide him to the area where König will  be waiting. The ground is covered with bodies,   so Vassili hides among them and proceeds to wait  for König to show up. There's an issue however:   he spends so much time waiting there that he  falls asleep. When König finally sees him from   his hiding spot, he is about to shoot him, only  to suddenly see a looting soldier appear between   them, moving Vassili's body as if he were  dead and easily stealing all his belongings.   The German army captures this soldier and finds he  stole Vassili's ID, which makes them think Vassili   is dead. König doesn't agree, but he's dismissed  anyway. Refusing to go home while Vassili may   still be out there, König talks to Sacha again  and, already suspecting what may be happening,   tells him which his next location will be. At  the Russian headquarters, Khrushchev finds out   the Germans are passing around the news of  Vassili's death and gets furious at Danilov,   who doesn't believe it. Khrushchev  doesn't care if it's true or not,   he wants Danilov to do his writing magic  and convince the public everything is fine.   Afterward, Danilov tries to talk to Tania  about her possibly traveling to his house,   but they're interrupted when the loudspeakers  start announcing Vassili's death as well.   Danilov gets ready to write an announcement of  Vassili's death as a hero, but at that moment,   the man himself comes back. He explains how he  missed his shot for falling asleep and that he   had to stay hidden from a man trying to kill him,  so Danilov accepts to transfer him. Then Vassili   asks about Tania, and Sacha tells him he knew  he was alive and told her, so she's gone to the   station to find König and get revenge. Danilov  and Vassili rush to the station to rescue her,   and when they find her, Vassili and Tania kiss,  causing Danilov to get incredibly jealous. So when   he returns to headquarters, instead of writing his  report about Vassili's heroism, he communicates to   the world that Vassili became a traitor. What they  aren't aware of is the fact König has seen them at   the station, and now knows for sure that Sacha has  been passing on the information, so he captures   the kid and hangs him off a pole to bait Vassili.  The one who almost falls for it when seeing the   body though, it's Tania, and she doesn't go after  König only because Vassili stops her, saying   that's what he wants. They agree on a plan. While  Vassili goes after him, Tania asks Danilov for a   favor and together they go to see Mrs. Filippov  to get her out of the country with a special pass   Danilov got for her. Mrs Filippov doesn't want to  leave without Sacha, but not to make her upset,   instead of telling her Sacha died, they tell her  he joined the Germans. Mrs. Filippov doesn't blame   him for it if it means he's safe and accepts to  leave with them. On the way to the boat, a bomb   explodes near them, hurting Tania. Danilov thinks  she's died and leaves, but Mrs. Filippov doesn't   give up and convinces a doctor to let Tania board  with her by showing her special pass and saying   Tania is her daughter. Vassili and König are  at a standoff in their respective hiding spots,   not knowing where the other is. Danilov suddenly  shows up next to Vassili, and now that Tania   is dead, he thinks he has nothing else to  live for and humanity isn't worth saving.   As a way to make up for the lies he made up  about Vassili, he sacrifices himself and comes   out of hiding so König can shoot him and reveal  his location. Vassili thinks ahead and doesn't   immediately react, so now König thinks he's killed  Vassili himself and comes out to check the body.   Vassili is waiting for him midway, and as soon as  he aims his rifle at him, König takes off his hat   and accepts his fate. After killing him, Vassili  takes his rifle and leaves it with Danilov's body.   Two months later, after the Germans have  surrendered, Vassili gets a letter from Tania,   saying she's alive and being taken care of  at a field hospital. Once the city is safe   enough to travel, Vassili goes to the address  on the letter and the couple happily reunites.
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