This clichéd war flop is a real aircrash

Cert 15 | *

Cross of Honour takes place during the beginning of World War Two. The RAF and the Luftwaffe are locked in an aerial battle for strategically important, mineral-rich Norway. During a chance skirmish, two planes – one British and one German – are shot down in a snow-covered part of northern Norway. The surviving crew-members of both planes stumble across the same remote cabin. They are forced to cooperate in order to survive the inhospitably cold conditions.

The meeting of the two aircrews in the cabin should make for a tense showdown. However, the audience is too distracted by the hammy performances and groan-inducingly clichéd script to feel any of the tension inherent to the characters’ predicament.

Every character is a caricature. There is the posh RAF captain (Lachlan Nieboer) whose first line is “anyone for a spot of tea?” and who conforms to a conception of Englishness held only by the 200m Americans who don’t have passports. There’s the plucky working class gunner with a regional accent (played by Hogwarts alumnus Rupert Grint). And, of course, there are the Basil Fawlty-style Germans. Needless to say, these Germans are obsessed with “rules and regulations” and are fond of shouting “You are now prisoners of ze Third Reich!” and “Vee Vill Vin the Var!” At one point one of them even says “Vee Chermans make ze best cars in ze vurld!”

David Kross is decent as the scared young German airman, freaked out by his injured arm. But his performance is just a snowflake in a blizzard of acting ineptitude. Nieboer is the worst. He is like a young Hugh Grant, only doubly as unctuous and half as charming.

Cross of Honour feels more like a parody of a war movie than an actual war movie. In fact, it would probably do better at the box office if it was marketed as one: Wary Movie starring Rupert Grint. That I’d pay to see.