Valkyrie

Valkyrie

(2008)

The 'July 20 Plot' on Hitler's life is one of the most heroic but least known episodes of World War Two. Severely wounded in combat, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) returns from Africa to join the German Resistance and help create Operation Valkyrie, the complex plan that will allow a shadow government to replace Hitler once he is dead.... More

But fate and circumstance conspire to thrust Stauffenberg from one of many in the plot to a double-edged central role. Not only must he lead the coup and seize control of his nation’s government… He must kill Hitler himself.Hide

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Flicks Review

The good news first: this is as classy looking a suspense thriller as you’d expect from the maker of The Usual Suspects. I found little to gripe about in terms of its pacing, imagery (lots of Nazi black, white and red, naturally) or indeed its performances. ... More

But there are a couple of key factors which stopped me loving Valkyrie. Firstly, I just couldn’t accept all-American hero Tom Cruise, one-time Full Monty stripper Tom Wilkinson, transvestite comic Eddie Izzard and Love Actually’s Bill Nighy as dissenting German soldiers. As commendable as their acting is (especially the determined Cruise and jittery Wilkinson), these guys are just too familiar to bark “heil Hitler!” and not look just a little silly. Secondly, the fact that we know this rebel band failed in their attempt to assassinate their genocidal Fuhrer robs this of a certain amount of tension. There are still surprises along the way – you don’t know how the plan will fail, only that it will - but for the most part, the edge of my seat remained unbothered.

The result of all this is that instead of the weighty, tense thriller this could have been, the ‘all-star’ cast edges Valkyrie towards being a sort of Third Reich Ocean’s 11 and the pre-known ending takes the suspense down a notch. The film remains intriguing, visually impressive and perfectly watchable, but like its protagonists it misses its ultimate target.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 3 ratings, 3 reviews
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BY delarge101 superstar

Tom Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a Wehrmacht official who loses his left eye, right hand, and a couple of fingers on his left, after him and his troops are attacked by an air raid in Tunisia. He is evacuated back to Munich, where his wife, Nina (Carice van Houten), is waiting for him. After recovery, he is recruited by General Friedrich Olbricht into the German Resistance. It’s here he meets other German officials and discusses with them a plot to assassinate Hitler, initiate... More Operation Valkyrie, accuse the SS of staging a coup, arrest all SS, Gestapo and Nazi officials, all the while officiating their own coup which will grant them power over Germany. Simple as that.

The first thing you will notice is that the dialogue is not in German, nor are the characters played by German actors. Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Terence Stamp, Eddie Izzard and numerous other English and American actors fill out the cast. Even Adolf Hitler himself is portrayed with a deep, brooding English accent. Although, for me, it did not seem unrealistic or bizarre in anyway, the film would have definitely benefited from the characters speaking their should-be natural dialect. Valkyrie could have been an epic, historal war film. Instead it’s a safe, conventional B-movie that’s borderline neo-noir.

The actors in this film deserve some credit though. I understand it must be hard to portray a German official whilst speaking english with a thick English/American accent, but thanks to fantastic production and costumes, Tom Cruise plays his character with suave and confidence. One actor who caught my eye was Jamie Parker. Parker plays Werner von Haeftena, an adjuntant to von Stauffenberg who sticks by his side during the assassination attempt on Hitler, right until he literally takes a bullet for von Stauffenberg, in a heartwarming display of loyalty. Parker plays the most convincing German of the lot. He is only young, but his face shows bravery and austerity, and he is arguably the most likable character out of the Resistance.

The script is intelligent and engaging, although it never takes any risks. The actors, especially Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Jamie Parker and Eddie Izzard, are all talented enough to make the absence of German accent and dialect not seem ridiculous. Valkyrie is a good film, but perhaps it would have been better had German actors starred in it.Hide


Perhaps it was because I already wiki'd a lot about this assasination attempt in anticipation of seeing the film, but I didnt really feel drawn in or that excited watching this film. It did have lots of action, but I feel that it was still all kept at one suspense level throughout.

I found it was a little confusing trying to follow who everyone was (again perhaps because I was trying to relate it back to what I had read) and I also found that there was a lot events that obviously must have... More spanned some time but the film made it appear like it was happening within a day of each other.

In the end the film was okay and probably as good as I expected it to be given that it had Tom Cruise in it. The film probably was let down because I had previously seen Der Untergang (The downfall) which I feel is the best film about Hitler I have ever seen. Any other true Hitler story probably will pale in comparison.

This morning I did think that what might have been more interesting would have been to have scripted Valkyrie as what would have happened had the attempt been successful. You could have even had 2 endings still one with what did happen, and one with what might have happened. I am sure many viewers definately had that thought in their head as they watched, just as I did - what could have been if only they had had both explosives, had been in the bunker or that bag had been left on the other side of the table leg.Hide


It's pretty jarring to have Tom Cruise and Eddie Izzard as German... I think this is a pretty poor decision. It draws you out of the film, and lends itself to humour.

Despite this, the film itself I thought was quite gripping and interesting throughout. I'd still recommend.


The Press Reviews

62% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • A perfectly acceptable motion picture. The only thing that keeps it from even greater accomplishments may be inherent in the story itself. Full Review

  • If Mr. Cruise doesn't work in Valkyrie, it's partly because he's too modern, too American and way too Tom Cruise to make sense in the role, but also because what passes for movie realism keeps changing, sometimes faster than even a star can change his brand. Full Review

  • Has visual splendor galore, but is a cold work lacking in the requisite tension and suspense. Full Review

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