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A movie directed by Bryan Singer

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A Stunning Historical Spectacle

  • Apr 11, 2009
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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 put in place by Hitler which ensures that in the event of allied bombings on major German cities that may cause disruption to law & order and the upper authorities, that order and law is upheld. This is the basic ways in which operation Valkyrie would work and the movie tells the story of how Colonel Claus von Staufenberg (Cruise) and other major figures in Hitler's army attempt to use operation Valkyrie to their advantage to help the takeover of Hitler's government after he's assassinated.

Of course, many people can be forgiven for thinking that Hitler's Germany was all on his side. After all, that's the way it is portrayed in our school history lessons. Very rarely are we shown the good side of Germany, and very rarely are we taught about the numerous attempts on the Fuhrer's life. "Valkyrie" brings one of the more infamous attempts on Hitler's life to the big screen, which develops into one of the most thrilling movies of the year.

The film itself starts off with an attempt on Hitler's life as Major-General Henning von Tresckow (Kenneth Branagh) hides a bomb within a wine case which is brought onto the same plane as Hitler as he leaves the airfield. The Bomb doesn't detonate and Tresckow is approached by fellow conspirator General Friedrich Olbricht (Bill Nighy) who informs Tresckow that another member of their secret committee was arrested and therefore must be replaced. A recommendation is made that General Claus von Staufenberg (Cruise) should be brought in to help develop a new plan of action.

Throughout the film there is some fantastic dialogue which ignites genuine discussion over the nature of the German people during war time. Were all Germans 100% behind Hitler or were they simply taken intimidated by his prowess and posture? From the appearance of this film it would seem that some of his highest ranking generals weren't even an ounce behind him. It's not only the historical depiction that is great about this film but it's more about the way it's filmed and the appearance of the cast. The settings seem authentic and in some senses present an intimidating portrait of the Nazi's we have come to know about today.

Although this film is based around the plot to kill Hitler and restore Germany's dignity before they are invaded by the allies, we see very little of Hitler himself, played by David Bamber. The depiction of the Fuhrer is that of a frail, beaten old man who says very little. This is in high contrast to the electrifying and terrifying speeches we have seen him perform before his followers. Maybe the brief sightings of Hitler allow for the terrifying image we hold to stay within, whilst presenting this brief glimpse to remind us that "this is the man who must die."

It's a brilliantly shot, brilliantly acted and brilliantly paced film. Tom Cruise is astonishing as always and I think the many criticisms that I have heard about this film are highly unjust. Comment

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April 15, 2009
I actually have this in my netflix queve. I dunno it still strikes me as another Hollywood serving of the usual stuff, it may provide tension and even dramatic suspense, but it has that Hollywood feel. I guess they figured the film wouldn't be profitable if they shot it with German actors so the mighty Tom Cruise steps in. I guess this is why I skipped it in theaters but will go for the rental. I prefer true realism in my historical dramas--and Germans in Germany spoke in their native tongue as far as I know. Have you seen "Downfall" about Hitler's last days? I hate this figure but I am always curious about movies about him. nicely executed review.
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 . 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 …
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 …
About the reviewer
Steven Stewart ()
Ranked #95
Currently studying Law at University, my main interests revolve around Politics. I read quite a lot and love learning about History. Not just the history of a specific time, place and person, but I'm … more
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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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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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