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Valkyrie

A movie directed by Bryan Singer

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The German Coup That Almost Succeeded.

  • May 16, 2009
Rating:
+3
Based upon actual historical events, VALKYRIE is a cinematic portrayal of the German Operation Valkyrie, a subversive plot against Hitler's Germany by a group of Nazi insiders. Tom Cruise stars as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. Stauffenberg is a distinguished and decorated officer, but secretly hates Hitler. After loosing an eye, a hand, and some fingers during combat operations in Tunisia, Stauffenberg is approached by the German Resistance. They know of his dislike for Hitler's regime and believe that his new post places him in the perfect position for an intended coup. Using "Operation Valkyrie", a contingency plan originally approved by Hitler that allowed the Ersatzheer (replacement army) to take control of the country if there was a internal breakup of the high command, as a blueprint Stauffenberg and the Resistance begin planning how to kill Hitler and take Germany back.

Even though I enjoy history, I have to admit that before seeing VALKYRIE, I was unaware of "Operation Valkyrie". I knew that there had been many assassination attempts on Hitler's life, but I did not know about the brave Stauffenberg, Valkyrie, and the almost successful coup of Hitler's Germany. I thought the film did a good job of bringing the story to the screen in an interesting and exciting way. If the only reason you haven't watched this movie is because you already know the outcome of the operation, please reconsider. People flocked to TITANIC even though everyone knows the ship sunk, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID is a great movie even though we know the leads disappear and are probably killed in Bolivia, etc. Sure we already know ahead of time that "Operation Valkyrie" fails, but that doesn't make VALKYRIE any less compelling.

Acting-wise, VALKYRIE has some great performances. Tom Cruise illustrates once again that he's a better actor than he would sometimes like the world to believe and seems perfect as lead man Stauffenberg. However, VALKYRIE is really an ensemble picture and everyone else in the picture does a fine job, too.

There are some who think it unusual that the characters speak in English with no German accents. Personally, I found this refreshing. I'm not sure where the idea originated that people of different countries have to speak in an English film with an accent reflecting their country of origin, but it's a convention that I'm glad isn't used in this movie. I hope that future historical films such as this follow suit and we could get rid of bad accents in historical movies altogether.

As far as historical accuracy goes, as I mentioned before, I didn't know much about "Operation Valkyrie" before seeing the movie. However, since then, I have done some research and it seems that VALKYRIE does an excellent job of sticking to historical truth. There are some events, scenes, and dialogue that have been changed, edited, or extended for dramatic or pacing purposes, but the essence of the story is kept and many of the historical facts of the events are adhered to. The props, set designs, and costumes are extremely accurate. Also, it should be noted if for no other reason, VALKYRIE is a movie worth watching because its one of only a few films ever to be allowed to film on location at the Blenderblock in Berlin.

I really enjoyed VALKYRIE. I'm not a fan of Tom Cruise, but I know he can be a pretty good actor. I also enjoy watching historical pictures. The film kept me engrossed and was so interesting that it led me to do some historical research afterwards. With that said, there is quite a bit of dialogue in the movie. In fact, much of what occurs between the opening scene and the final act of the movie is dialogue. I didn't mind that so much, but there are some people who might find all that talking (but great dialogue and discussion) to be drab and boring.

The regular edition DVD includes just the movie with only a few trailers as extras. The special edition DVD is the one you probably want to buy as it includes two audio commentaries, a making-of featurette, a documentary from the History Channel entitled "The Valkyrie Legacy", and a digital copy of the film for your personal computer.

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More Valkyrie reviews
review by . October 03, 2009
Since the close of WWII, Germany has had to bear with its image of a nation of just-following-orders Nazis. Schindler's List told the story of some valorous citizens. Now Valkyrie has done the same with the military, relating the details of a nearly successful conspiracy among a cadre of high ranking officers to assassinate Hitler, overthrow his regime, and end the war. This is an extraordinary film, one in which the suspense builds slowly, always heightened by a sense of foreboding, since we know …
review by . April 11, 2009
We all know who Hitler is. If you don't, you're an idiot. If you don't, let me give you a very short and vague lesson as to the man that is Hitler. Hitler = very evil man, killed many people, tried to create a German empire and almost succeeded, became a bit too power hungry and had his allies turn against him. Now you know Hitler, then this can lead you on the path to understanding this film and just exactly what operation Valkyrie was.      Operation Valkyrie is an operation …
review by . March 09, 2009
  Col. Claus von Stauffenberg: "We have to kill Hitler"     Colonel Mertz von Quirnheim: "Any problem on Earth can be solved with the careful application of high explosives. The trick is not to be around when they go off."       Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):     1. Col. Von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) returns from battle in Tunisia missing an eye, a hand and a couple of fingers.   2. Not being a man to …
review by . June 01, 2009
When I saw the preview/trailer for this movie I was very eager for the film to be released. Sadly, I didn't have the chance to view the movie until it was released on home video. Nevertheless, upon finishing "Valkyrie" I must say I was very, very impressed. This historical thriller directed astutely by Bryan Singer (X-Men, Usual Suspects) was not only a good movie, but tackled a subject that (from my understanding) hasn't been touched by another filmmaker. I also want to take this moment to say …
review by . May 21, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
VALKYRIE deserves wider attention than it received during its theatrical release, a theater run mired by the media emphasis on the tacky behind the scenes stories of the making of the film and the character destruction of Tom Cruise. This is a fascinating bit of World War II German history that is not as well known as the other aspects of the Third Reich and it bears telling. Writers Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander have used the facts of the 15th unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Hitler …
review by . April 08, 2009
Valkyrie, the latest film from noted director Bryan Singer, is a film that sets out to prove there were good Germans during the Third Reich. In that it largely succeeds. It also sets out to revive Tom Cruise's somewhat stalled career. In that... well, time will tell. It always does, as the Doctor once said.    The movie focuses on the formation of a plot to kill Hitler using Operation Valkyrie, a plan originally drafted to maintain law and order in the Reich in the event of Allied …
review by . March 04, 2009
9/10 Stars       Forget all the negative hype surrounding Valkyrie, because I assure you it is false. Bryan Singer has made a well-crafted thriller that kept me and my family on the edge of our seats until the end - even though we all know what the story's unfortunate outcome. Also, many tabloids were making this out to be the movie that would permanently cripple the career of Tom Cruise. This is entirely false. Cruise delivers a fine performance, and this hatred I …
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Unpretentious and dramatically straightforward,Valkyrieis a suspenseful yet ennobling story about the last attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler prior to the end of World War II. Tom Cruise is effective if a little opaque as hero Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who channels his anger at Hitler's atrocities and mismanagement of the war by joining a secret organization bent on killing the Führer. When the outspoken Stauffenberg hits on the idea of linking Hitler's death with an official policy to safeguard Berlin during a government crisis--a contingency plan called "Valkyrie"--the group realizes a post-assassination coup could be covered by rapidly implementing the plan. History tells us the plot failed, of course, and Hitler killed himself months later. But that doesn't stop Cruise or director Bryan Singer from approaching the film as a thinking person's thriller, told from inside the conspirators' camp, where the outcome of their deeds were uncertain for several tense hours.

In the tradition of The Great Escape, Valkyrie is a war movie full of famous faces, including Kenneth Branagh, Terence Stamp, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy and Eddie Izzard. (The lesser-known David Bamber is very good as Hitler, hunched and cracking under pressure.) The film's gravity is offset a bit by the fun of seeing all these actors in a factually-based slice of history, and by a few, interesting stylistic flourishes on Singer's part, including the peculiarly ...

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Details

Director: Bryan Singer
Genre: Drama, History, Thriller, War
Release Date: 25 December 2008 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: May 19, 2009
Runtime: 115 min
Studio: United Artists
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