After achieving complete confusion, the psychological realm collapses. I didn't think Peckinpah could make a more violent film than the Wild Bunch, but my God he found a way. The explosion of violence is not an emotional release though, it is a constant state of shock and horror.
I didn't mind the characters on the verge of banality, as war movies usually tend to present a greater-than-life meanings, offering width rather than depth. But for none of them to develop in any way throughout the whole thing, and offer but a spectrum of war related exhibitions, is disappointing. Luckily, the events and their unexpected interpretations are entertaining enough to hold the film together.
Somewhat dishevelled, but "Cross Of Iron" grows in my estimation every time I watch it. Peckinpah's final cry of resistance against the authoritarian rhetoric of any system, be it the Wild West of his masterful Westerns, or here the bluster of the Nazi system, where the wonderful James Coburn (fucking badass) pulls his own "Wild Bunch" finale against those that betrayed him and his platoon.
I am not a fan of war films, but this one is a truly great war film indeed. Some scenes are very moving, some others terrifying, and some of them are deeply sad. I liked the direction by Peckinpah, and the cinematography of the film, and i loved James Coburn - a perfect fit for the role. I also liked James Mason - he is a great actor, and his performance here is definitely worth a mention.
Cross Of Iron may be set in WW2, but it feels much more like of the great anti war films bred out of the Vietnam War. Peckinpah's film is a disparaging, bleak and graphic look at the absurd and pointless nature of war. In true Peckinpah style there's unnecessary perverse amount of explosions, death stylishly filmed in slow mo which dilutes Coburn's interesting central narrative, but it still sends a powerful message.
Usually I don't enjoy 70's films about WW2. However I appreciate this one, as it's most likely one of the first telling the story from Germans' point of "view" and not showing them as monsters. Germans speaking English with British accent brings it down though in my opinion, sounds weird and out of place, and it was rather standard at the time the film was made...
Deserves a good score for originality and success in depicting the madness and pointlessness of war, both directly and allegorically. Regrettably, and is spite of technically clean and well though photography, the film lacks a catching flow. Maybe it is another representation of war, but for someone convinced of its horror and pointlessness already this makes for an unsurprising and somehow long watch