Thursday, August 6, 2009

Valkyrie (2008)

Starring Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, et al
Rated PG-13, 121 minutes

"Valkyrie" is a film depicting the 15th and final attempt on the life of German dictator Adolf Hitler. Tom Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, newly recruited by a simmering band of military and political personnel plotting to kill the Fuhrer. The colonel's plan is to commandeer the reserve army and enact Operation Valkyrie, the regime's standby for emergencies. Stauffenberg wants to convince the troops that Hitler's S.S. are trying to overthrow the government. With the reserves busy, the underground regime can take over. For all this to begin, the ever important assassination has to occur. Some have cold feet.

The plot was a lame duck. You knew Hitler lived. And the drama in finding out how the resistance failed was lacking. In their first attempt, some members of the team don't have the bravery to carry through with the entire plan. Then they proceed with a half-cocked attempt because they can't afford not to. Even though these people were doing the right thing, and acting with their best judgment, they look like boobs. I guess the "blame" really goes to history. The people there were truly entranced by their leader, and it took great gumption to defy him.

"Valkyrie" was a downer, and not in the artistically satisfying way. Having the cast speak English, and especially having Tom Cruise among European-looking actors, marred the suspension of disbelief. The dialogue was weighed down with details. Even with a speaker system in place, I found myself turning on the subtitles in case I missed some German noun being whispered between characters. It made watching a chore in spots.


It would take a good deal for me to relive this plot again, and "Valkyrie" was merely decent.

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