"Valkyrie" Review

By Gil Young and Zak Levine (Contributors) [?]

Published: January 12, 2009 and Updated: May 10, 2009
Original LA News Desk Content
A SoldierCaption: Tom Cruise in ValkyrieSource: © United Artists 2008

Valkyrie tells the true story of a failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler during the last legs of World War II. Tom Cruise (Top Gun) played Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, leading a cast of some well-knowns, such as Bill Nighy (The Constant Gardener), Tom Wilkenson (Batman Begins) and Terence Stamp (Get Smart). Eddie Izzard (The Riches) also appears, playing General Erich Fellgiebel.

Valkyrieís greatest stride was in its ability to maintain tension through long scenes. Even knowing the outcome, we both desperately wanted Stauffenberg and his team to succeed. This is largely due to a very hate-worthy antagonist. Everyone can get behind hating Hitler, and that made even some of the weaker parts of this movie seem important. Also, some of the cinematography was interesting and it kept the viewer from getting bored. Valkyrie also did a good job of sticking to the point; even with characters with hard-to-pronounce names, the plot was easy to follow. Again, the good scenes were the ones that best conveyed the tension and political unease during WWII.

There wasnít much to say about the acting though, it was very average. Tom Cruise played a very stiff part, although there wasnít much room for him to move around in; it was, and still is, frowned upon to show emotion in the military. There was a similar performance from David Bamber playing Adolf Hitler, and it was disappointing to see such a tame performance of such a hateful, emotionally charged man. One of the biggest problems with this movie is that, because it is historically accurate, you know they arenít going to succeed. The result is a looming sense of failure throughout the whole movie. It was also irritating that none of the actors spoke in German or even put on German accents, although it might have been for the best that Tom Cruise didnít try to.

This is not an action movie. If youíre in the mood for a bullet-ridden, blood-soaked WWII shoot Ďem up, save your buck. If youíre looking for a good, plot driven political film, itís at least worth a try; you may be pleasantly surprised. The tense mood and subject matter set this movie up to be a must see, although it is hampered by so-so acting and a predictable ending.

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  • Ryan, on 01/16/2009, said:

    I heard somewhere that Hitler's mustache was very nonchalant in the movie, is that true?

  • ETHAN, on 01/20/2009, said:

    yeah, i think that's right.

  • Bob Forapples, on 01/21/2009, said:

    I think the main failings of the movie was a lack of direction in the plotting stage and, of course, the disappointing ending. Though obviously we knew that it would fail, the movie didn't even leave the audience with some kind of feeling that maybe they had achieved something, whereas I found myself wondering why I had just sat through a lengthy build-up to failure. And yes, I do agree that Hitler's mustache was very nonchalant.

  • Alex, on 02/26/2009, said:

    I think that the portrayal of Hitler was great in this movie. Sure it wasn't what everyone wanted to see, but it was accurate. Remember, this was in 1944, when Germany was losing and there had already been a dozen attempts to assassinate him. Hitler at the time of Valkyrie was downtrodden and paranoid. He was not the same commanding presence as he was in the 1930s.

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