Home > Movie Reviews, Movies, My Movie Reviews > Incredible Attention To Detail & Thrills Make “Valkyrie” A Winner

Incredible Attention To Detail & Thrills Make “Valkyrie” A Winner

Photobucket“Valkyrie” has had to deal with numerous problems, even before cameras starting rolling. It seems the entire free world was ready to ridicule Tom Cruise and his portrayal of a German man. The German government had issues with Cruise’s dedication to Scientology and held up some film production. The movie’s release date ranged from late 2007 to February of 2009.

Needless to say, it’s been a tough go for this movie. It’s funny that nobody ever brought up the biggest problem that “Valkyrie” was looking at: How do you make an entertaining movie in which the entire audience knows the ending?

Off the bat, I will tell you that “Valkyrie” isn’t even remotely close to as bad as the rumors would have you believe. For a two hour film, it is one of the more informative historical thrillers in recent memory. You really get a sense of how much planning and the difficulty that an assassination attempt of Adolf Hitler presented to these government conspirators. Unfortunately for the movie, we don’t really get to know any of the conspirators, which was probably sacrificed due to time constraints and information overload.

The movie focuses on a group of Army officers that wanted to end the murderous rampage that a Hitler-led Germany was engaging in throughout Europe. These men weren’t trying to end the war because they had Oscar Schindler-like ideals, they simply could see the writing on the wall and that if Germany didn’t end World War II, it would be disastrous for Germany and its people. After years of conspiring a hostile military takeover of the Nazi regime, the group finally realizes there is only one way to pull off the coup: Hitler’s assassination.

The assassination attempt is led by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise). After losing his left eye, right hand, and three of his fingers on the left hand during a bombing in North Africa, Stauffenberg is transferred to Berlin and given a position that gives him personal access to Hitler. This is something that the conspirators have never really had and Stauffenberg joins Major-General Henning von Tresckow (Kenneth Branagh), General Friedrich Olbricht (Bill Nighy), and Ludwig Beck (Terence Stamp), among others, and they begin to plot the attempt, using a military order named “Operation Valkyrie”.

The movie does a fantastic job of giving the audience some potentially confusing information in a very easy to understand way. The screenplay (co-written by Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander) moves right along and doesn’t spend much time with any character development. Instead, this movie focuses on the facts and doesn’t get caught up in any personal drama of the characters.

While much has been said about the acting and accents in the film, I didn’t find any of them distracting or poor. There is a very clever opening to the film that explains why these German people are speaking English. It’s akin to when the Russians start speaking English in “The Hunt For Red October”. Yes, even Tom Cruise is efficient as the main character, Stauffenberg. All of these seasoned actors are very good here, particularly Terence Stamp. Every time Stamp is on screen, he seems almost regal and is quite commanding. If there is a moment in the movie that could really tug on your heartstrings, it involves Stamp and his character’s inevitable death.

Yes, Stamps’ character is killed, as are every single conspirator. All it takes is ten minutes on Wikipedia to realize that “Valkyrie” is not going to end well for the main characters and the fact that we all know this makes the suspense in this movie all the more impressive. Maybe Bryan Singer should get away from directing comic book movies and back to real drama like this?

WonderWill “Valkyrie” win any awards? No, it won’t. Is it as laughably bad as reports would have you believe? Not even close. This is a very well-scripted, methodical, informative historical movie. If this movie is lacking anything, it is an emotional tie to the people who were killed as a result of the assassination attempt. Overall, the slick writing and direction of “Valkyrie” make it a pleasant surprise.

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