One of the larger releases today (besides the eyeball impalation-fest My Bloody Valentine) is Valkyrie. Riddled with delays and production anxiety over Tom Cruise cooties and Bryan Singer’s post-Superman Returns fallout, the film had a modest run in spite of the drama and saw moderate success. However, I know quite a few people stayed away from this one.
Valkyrie plays itself out as a fantastically streamlined political thriller that, despite the knowledge of an inevitable ending, succeeds in delivering a well-acted, tense and exciting 120 minutes, even with the nit-picked Tom Cruise English accent*.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story- in the waning end-year of WW II, a group of German military men and politicians met to plan Hitler’s assassination and subsequent coup in an effort to win back Germany and avoid a humiliating WW I-style drubbing that was feared part of an inevitable German defeat. As a result, Operation Valkyrie was set in motion, a duplicitous scheme to topple Hitler and turn an SS emergency plan for power consolidation in on itself. With a powerhouse cast of fantastic character actors including Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Terrence Stamp and even Eddie Izzard, Valkyrie is the type of film unfortunately maligned by way of exterior forces as opposed to its actual merit, of which Valkyrie has plenty.
Since Valkyrie is a true story, history’s told you how it all played out — however, the details and heartbreak of getting there are no less exciting.
If you haven’t seen this one, make sure you rent it pronto.
* I’m not sure why the accent was ever an issue, considering the rest of the cast spoke with English accents… in English. Both of which, incidentally, are not German.