“Who’ll Stop the Rain?” (1978)
dir. Karel Reisz
Using the drug-smuggling by American troops returning from Vietnam as a backdrop “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” is a crime-film about two strangers on the run after a drug-deal goes bad. The film focuses on the unintended consequence of the war on a far removed populace and returning veterans. Nick Nolte, along with the rest of cast, deliver excellent performances. Director is Karl Reisz is smart to disguise a difficult and troubling story as a genre film.
“Cross of Iron” (1977)
dir. Sam Peckinpah
Raw and gritty war film told from the perspective of German soldiers on the Russian front during WWII. Like Peckinpah’s other work, “Cross of Iron” is a violent and stylistic shoot-em up with lyrical, often poetic, sequences. There is a naked beauty about this film with its lush, green setting and bloody, flesh-ripping battle sequences. “Cross” also features a truly unexpected ending that showcases, better then most, the madness and confusion of war and the morality of those who fight.
dir. John Cassavetes
One of John Cassavetes’ lesser-known films, “Husbands” explores many of the same themes present in his previous work “Faces” including infidelity, love, friendship, married life, doubt, and middle-age-angst. Cassavetes also tackles death but focuses mainly on the male sex – as the title suggests – as opposed to the bifurcated structure of “Faces” which consisted of male-oriented and female-oriented episodes. “Husbands” is all about what men think it means to be men, which may throw off some viewers with its frank, unapologetic depiction of flawed, complicated human beings trying to come to terms with their own mortality. “Husbands” was finally released on DVD this August after being neglected for far too long.