Unlike so many war films this film doesn't over-step the mark with an overly-obsessive focus on the harrowing images of war and a near medical precision with getting the fx right when someone is blown to bits.
This film concentrates on some distinct characters - a Scottish Captain (Ferns), a French Lieutenant (Canet) and a German Commander (BrŁhl) and his opera-singing misfit soldier. It is a tribute to the production that the production is for the most part tri-lingual and does it's best to remind the audience that the First World War was in fact fought fairly equally between these three nations on the Western Front (despite the late arrival of the Americans). The plot is nicely balanced and uses some actual facts about the first Xmas in the trenches in 1914 (apparently the Germans did sing 'Silent Night on Xmas eve, and did have Xmas trees on the trench-tops and somehow contrived to play their opposite numbers at a game of soccer on Xmas day!) The script even manages to get a woman into the frontline (deftly played by Diana Kruger - fresh from her debut in Troy) and neatly intertwines the viewpoints of the three warring nations. The three officers are all superbly acted and the real task of any film is to get the audience to care about the characters ... which you invariably do. The Scotsman is an irreverent rogue, but nevertheless a decent sort, the French Lieutenant is a troubled philosopher and missing his wife, the German commander seems harsh at first but gradually warms and shows that he is a young-man in very difficult circumstances.
The film has little conclusion other than the futility of war - pretty much standard issue for a WWI film I guess - but because the emphasis is not so much on the fighting but how they carve out a brief reprieve from the insane slaughter, the film does acquire an edge over other similar war films.
If you enjoyed 'A Very Long Engagement' then you will like this film.