EPIC war movie Enemy At The Gates, recounting the Battle of Stalingrad, pushes spectacle at the expense of emotion.

Russian political officer Danilov (Joseph Fiennes) transforms unknown soldier Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law) into a media hero, and the human face of the Russian army's battle against the Nazis.

Vassili has notched up more than 140 kills, and news of his exploits boosts morale in the dwindling Russian ranks.

With the body count rising steadily, the German army despatches its own marksman Major Konig (Ed Harris) to assassinate this hero.

The two men to engage in a life-or-death battle of cunning, skill and wits, stretching over several taut days.

Enemy At The Gates is reported to be the most expensive European film ever made, with a price tag of around £60 million.

Director Jean-Jacques Annaud's blows a large portion of the budget in the opening 20 minutes, with a bloody recreation of the battle for Stalingrad reminiscent of the D-Day landings from Saving Private Ryan.

The camera charges over muddy terrain as unprepared Russian conscripts are cut down by the might of Hitler's army.

It's a gut-wrenching, intense and visceral experience which the rest of the picture struggles to match.

The two leads never lose their poster boy images under a thin layer of grime and blood.

Law struggles to play an everyman carrying the weight of expectation of an entire nation, but does tap into his character's inner demons.

Fiennes is unconvincing as a Russian spin doctor and Rachel Weisz has little to do as a young Jewish woman who stirs the affections of Danilov and Zaitsev.

Harris lends some gravitas to proceedings, reflecting the mental and physical exhaustion of an increasingly disillusioned warhorse.

Enemy At The Gates is a bold and audacious piece of film-making, blessed with stunning cinematography, production design and James Horner's melancholic score.