Home Movie Vault Disc Vault Coming Soon Join Our Mailing List Articles About Us Contest Soundtrack Books eStore

  Publicity Stills of
(Courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten, Eddie Izzard, Christian Berkel, Thomas Kretschmann, Terrence Stamp
RunTime: 2 hrs 1 min
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Rating: PG (Some Violence)
Official Website: http://valkyrie.unitedartists.com/

Opening Day: 12 February 2009


"Valkyrie" a suspense thriller based on the true story of the daring German officers’ plot to assassinate Hitler in 1944. Superstar Tom Cruise heads an international cast as Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, the aristocratic German officer who led the heroic attempt to bring down the Nazi regime and end the war by planting a bomb in Hitler’s bunker. Directed by Bryan Singer and written by Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander, “Valkyrie” reunites Singer and McQuarrie for the first time since their ground-breaking 1995 thriller "The Usual Suspects."

Movie Review:

Valkyrie is in essence a Hollywood picture. And the sooner you accept this, the sooner you will enjoy this surprisingly effective thriller.

Indeed, none of the actors in the movie speak a word of German- despite the fact that Valkyrie is about the real-life operation of the same name led by a certain patriotic German aristocrat Colonel Claus Von Stauffenberg and his band of righteous men to assassinate Adolf Hitler from within Hitler’s own ranks.

Rather, Tom Cruise who plays the German colonel Claus von Stauffenberg talks American English and the rest of the supporting cast consisting of many brilliant actors like Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Terence Stamp and Tom Wilkinson from the other side of the Atlantic speak with distinct British accents. Unlike many such movies of its ilk, director Bryan Singer has opted to let his actors speak in their own natural tongue.

The result is an odd combination but not without its merits- considering how Hollywood actors putting up fake accents can end up becoming unintentionally amusing. Naturally, it will take some getting used to, and reminding, that what you are seeing is really a bunch of German officers. Besides this distracting inaccuracy, the rest of the movie is otherwise an exercise in precision.

How else would you describe this meticulous laying out of Operation Valkyrie- from its conception, to its planning and right up to its execution? In a story where you already know the ending, Bryan Singer devotes much time and effort in his movie to let you understand the intricacies of what was from the start a doomed operation. And it is to his unreserved credit that this unfolding of an audacious plot turns out every bit as intriguing and exciting as it should be.

The movie also marks the second collaboration with his Usual Suspects writer Christopher McQuarrie and like their earlier hit, it is nothing less than a winning combination. Their sleight of hand lies not just in how they carefully ratchet up the suspense from one moment to the next, but also how they work effectively to establish the major figures in the plot, to tell them apart, to explain their roles and to suggest their differences in this coup d’état.

To this end, recruiting a team of top British actors to play the German generals has paid off handsomely. They bring to their roles distinct identities, be it the cunning politican, the pious general, or the indecisive commander. Two of the best supporting performances are by Bill Nighy, as a military commander who gets cold feet as the operation gets underway, and Tom Wilkinson, as the crafty general always on the lookout for where his best personal interests lie.

And what about Tom Cruise and the avalanche of bad publicity surrounding his decision to play the highly respected German hero? Fortunately, there is little evidence of his larger-than-life persona here in the movie (although the actor and the character do indeed look alike). Instead, Cruise gives a dignified performance that is charismatic but never showy. While it is certainly not his best, one must admit nonetheless that it is a solid and praise-worthy effort.

Unlike the ill-fated plot therefore, Valkyrie turns out to be quite the resounding success. Sure the language and the accents will take a while to get used to, but the movie turns out to be good old-fashioned storytelling at its best. Intricately plotted and executed with much bravado, this is one history lesson that you will definitely not fall asleep in.

Movie Rating:

(Forgive the accents- and you will find Valkyrie a sturdy, well-made thriller)

Review by Gabriel Chong


. Defiance (2008)

. Escape From Huang Shi (2008)

. Lions For Lambs (2007)

. Assembly (2007)

. Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)

. Flags Of Our Fathers (2006)

. Days Of Glory (2006)

. Superman Returns (2006)

DISCLAIMER: Images, Textual, Copyrights and trademarks for the film and related entertainment properties mentioned
herein are held by their respective owners and are solely for the promotional purposes of said properties.
All other logo and design Copyright©2004- , movieXclusive.com™
All Rights Reserved.