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Valkyrie

A movie directed by Bryan Singer

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Magazine articles proven wrong...again

  • Mar 4, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+5
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 can only assume is related to his rather odd personal life. Tom Cruise is as strong of an actor as he ever was, and I won't let something like turning Oprah's couch into a playground deny the fact that the man has talent, and is a truly passionate actor (and seriously, he does have a slight resemblance to Stauffenberg).

The movie is based on the last of fifteen known attempts on the life of German dictator Adolf Hitler (I'm sure everyone will have him in a nice "Five Most Evil People" list), and has Tom Cruise playing Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who of course was the key player in the assassination attempt. Ultimately this attempt failed (as we all know Hitler would die by suicide nine months later), but that doesn't keep Valkyrie from being an addictively engaging film.

Every member of the cast does their part well, not jockeying for superiority in any way. More importantly Cruise does not grandstand in this movie, fading in with the rest of the cast, rather than trying to stand above them like you'd expect, given his past films. Cruise gives a performance similar to 2005's War of the Worlds, where he does a good performance, but he never tries to overpower the other members of the cast. In Valkyrie Tom Cruise is a being a good team player, not trying to steal any glory, and never once does he overact the part.

Using very little CGI Valkyrie is also a wonderful film to look at. The vintage automobiles and aircrafts make this film have a distinct authentic flair that few other war films have (CGI looks like it was only used for the climatic assassination attempt). You can look at this and tell that this is the real deal, with the production team putting careful care into how they want this film to look, unlike most Blockbuster films that try and inflate every aspect of the film rather than aim for reality. Like the performance by Tom Cruise they don't try and overpower the audience with special effects, they simply let the characters slip into the realistic settings.

Also, the complaints about the accents I truly feel are desperate attempts to bash Cruise's performance. It was director Bryan Singer's concept to not use false German accents, and not that of Cruise, or the primarily British cast. I agree with Singer's concept that if feels false, and inaccurate to have people speak in English, but with foreign accents. I know several Germans in real life, and they do not sound very "German" when they speak in English, because the accent is not intended for the English language. I personally feel the desire for English being spoken in German accents comes from decades of WWII films where we've categorized every-single member of the German army, and by them speaking in that accent only is to cliché them and separate them from American audiences. They can speak in German accents, but only if they're speaking in German, because if they aren't it seems to be a tool to keep your common American moviegoer from relating to the characters.

Don't go into Valkyrie expecting to be greeted with a horrifically bad film that you will be able to poke fun at with friends. The movie has been released, and I feel the rumors, and negative hype of been proven decisively false. This isn't a movie to kill Cruise's career, but it won't help him regain love in the American community either (as previously mentioned he doesn't shine so much as mix in with the rest of the cast). It is a very enjoyable dramatization of a true event, and I don't think the material could have been handled much better, even with a full German cast, because Singer's style and method of conveying this story are all very well-done.

Go out and enjoy this dramatization of one of the darkest periods of human history. It is worth every second of your time, and all though it isn't Oscar-worthy it is certainly worth two-hours of your time.

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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 . May 16, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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 …
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   I'm an aspiring filmmaker who loves the crafts of the cinema. I write reviews as a side hobby.
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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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