This passed weekend I decided to watch Tom Cruise’s newest movie, “Valkyrie.” Supposedly based in fact, the film outlines the attempts of some German patriots to oust Adolph Hitler before it was too late.
As the Fuhrer’s killings became more frequent and more outrageous, it seems that even some of his own countrymen finally realized that Hitler was insane. One such man, a Colonel Claus von Staffenberg (played by Tom Cruise), decided to take action rather than just voice his opinion in words on paper.
Together, with other high placed German officers and politicians, he devised a plan that seemed destined to rid their country of the plague that had infected it. Even after the first attempt failed, they regrouped and tried again and again.
Finally, they ceased upon an internal emergency plan called Operation Valkyrie in hopes of finally experiencing success. If it worked, it would give the German army a way to overthrow both Hitler and his ruthless henchmen and personal guard.
Unfortunately, as everyone knows, the plan did not succeed and many of Germany’s staunchest patriots paid the price with their lives. However, they spurred others on to try to assassinate Hitler as well. Eventually, he committed suicide less than one year after the death of Staffenberg.
I’m not a big fan of war related movies. However, I have always been fascinated with how Hitler, a single man, was able to weave such an intricate tapestry of pure evil, resulting in the lives of countless innocent Jews.
“Valkyrie” doesn’t address any particular issue of Hitler’s reign of terror. It just shows the ruthless ambition of a man bent on gathering power at any cost; even the lives of his own countrymen.
The cast of “Valkyrie” was very strong overall. Tom Cruise played his role well, although far from flawlessly. He showed the strength of a dedicated countryman but not the heart of true hero. His performance, at times, was flat and lacked the emotion that the audience needed in order to connect with the character.
On the other hand, Bill Nighy, as General Friedrich Olbricht let every emotion show in his eyes, his posture, and the way he moved about the set. Equally moving was Kenneth Branagh as Major General Henning von Tresckow.
Clarice van Houten was the heart of the Staffenberg family. She was also the only woman in a co-starring role within the film.
The screenplay penned by Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander was very strong. It gave the audience a sense of the urgency that some Germans felt about not having their country forever linked with the name of Adloph Hitler.
Director Bryan Singer did a masterful job of keeping the story, actors, script, music, and sets together in a way the audience could accept, deal with, and admire.
Everything from the sets, costumes, cinematography, and music was powerful. It clenched at the heart and brought Hitler’s Germany to life.
Surprisingly, I liked this film. It brought a new face to Nazi Germany; that of the country’s real patriots rather than the mindless drones of the Hitler regime.
For that reason, I’m happy to give it three and one-half stars out of five. It deserves to be seen for many reasons, not the least of which is to remember how much destruction a single man can wield.
RATING SCALE USED:
0 = A stinker. Don’t waste the money!
1 = Bad. Rent it at your own risk.
2 = Below average. See only if you have time to kill.
2.5 = Average. A toss up.
3 = Good. Worth a looksee.
3.5 = Very Good. I recommend it.
4 = Excellent. Don’t miss it!
4.5 = Outstanding. What are you waiting for?
5 = Destined to become a classic. You will be sorry if you don’t see it.