Valkyrie review

February 25, 2009 at 4:13 am (cinema) (, , , )

In director Bryan Singer’s Valkyrie, Tom Cruise plays Claus von Stauffenberg, a veteran colonel of the German campaign in North Africa, who spearheads a group of high-ranking German officers in a plot to assassinate Hitler at his Wolf’s Lair headquarters in 1944. An old-fashioned World War II movie, Valkyrie is one of those rare tales about the German Resistance that addresses the overlooked heroism of officers and soldiers who actively fought Hitler and his regime from within the ranks of power.
The film works well as a suspense thriller although, this being a chapter out of history, you know how the story ends. And hence the intrigue in Valkyrie lies in the execution of the assassination plot. It’s from the point where Stauffenberg gets nearer and nearer to Hitler with his briefcase bomb that the film really takes off. As with the director’s last film, Superman Returns, this one too is admirably directed and technically solid, but there’s an emotional connect that is clearly missing. For one, Tom Cruise’s American accent is jarring, and two, his superstar persona clearly eclipses the German legend.
It’s difficult to appreciate Stauffenberg’s commitment to the mission because it’s never quite Stauffenberg you see on screen, it’s Cruise playing Stauffenberg in a Nazi uniform, an eye-patch and a stump for an arm. For those with a keen interest in history, Valkyrie may prove an engaging watch. But it is really at best an above average thriller with some gripping moments.


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