Rated PG-13; Directed by Bryan Singer; Starring Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilkinson, Carice Van Houten, Terence Stamp, Eddie Izzard
The story of how a group of conspirators in the German military and government attempted to assassinate Hitler has the potential to make for a gripping film. Valkyrie, just like the assassination attempt, doesn’t quite succeed, but there are some great moments in the film. A good script; a great cast, for the most part; and some excellent production values make “Valkyrie” a decent movie, especially for history buffs.
Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) detests what Hitler is doing to his beloved Germany and when he is sent back to Berlin after being badly injured in northern Africa, Stauffenberg joins in on a plot to overthrow Hitler and the government. The plot requires that Hitler die, and Stauffenberg is willing to do what is necessary to make the plan succeed.
The history is fascinating. If director Bryan Singer (X-Men, The Usual Suspects) is giving us an accurate portrayal of the events, this story deserves a top-notch movie. Singer does build up the tension nicely and also offers excellent location shots. Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, and Eddie Izzard are wonderful as the German generals who want to save Germany by destroying Hitler. Tom Cruise is not bad as Stauffenberg, he carries off the role nicely. It’s just hard to separate the character from the movie star. Another good British actor may have blended more nicely within the movie. The cast’s various accents are also jarring, and take us out of the movie.
Though Valkyrie lacks perfection, it doesn’t mean that the story is a failure. For those of you looking for a movie about decent men trying to overthrow evil, this is a movie to see.