Great adaptation, I think my problem lies with the novel it's based on. I read it some years ago and didn't like it, as I just now remembered. It does capture the horrors of war, but only insofar as they happen to Finnish soldiers. Killing Russians is made to seem like a fun pastime. Also, the film itself seems a bit like it's modeled after Peckinpah's Cross Of Iron(honest soldiers/vain officers etc.).
With Mollbergs trademark sensual style, this 3 hour+ film is shaped into the rawest depiction of war in scandinavian film. Few directors manages to be gritty and realistic, yet so poetic. It perfectly conveys the soldiers mentality, as they battle the russians and their own commanders. Ultimately creating a complete nightmare. Its a huge shame that Rauni Mollberg isn't better known.