Valkyrie

Film
3 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
DVD is ruining historical education in this country: with hundreds of movies now available, there’s no reason for the families of middle England to gather around the TV on a wet bank holiday afternoon to watch ‘The Colditz Story’ for the umpteenth time. But help is at hand: in ‘Valkyrie’, Tom Cruise doesn’t  just set out to beat the Boche, but to save the great British Sunday.
It’s surprising that Hollywood never got around to making an all-star epic about the plot of July 1944, in which a group of disgruntled generals, led by the aristocratic von Stauffenberg (Cruise), attempted to off the Führer and rescue Germany’s reputation. The failure of the assassination plan, and the attempted coup that followed, marked the end of organised Germanic resistance to Hitler’s regime.

Director Bryan Singer takes a staunchly old-school approach, assembling a cast of reliable British thesps and dividing the action between swastika-adorned wood-panelled offices and rainswept, shadowy Berlin streets. The period is exactingly recreated, with the camera lingering lovingly over leather jackboots, snarling dogs and those fetishistic, immaculately starched uniforms.
‘Valkyrie’ has serious flaws: the script, by Nathan Alexander and Singer’s longtime compadre Christopher McQuarrie, takes an age to get going and steers clear of any moral ambiguity. Too many of the prestigious cast –  notably Kenneth Branagh and token female Carice van Houten –  are underused, and the accents are simply ludicrous, with Cruise’s mid-American drawl sitting awkwardly alongside Branagh’s cultured RP and the Führer’s Teutonic whine. But as old-fashioned historical escapism goes, this is solid, compelling stuff.

Posted:

Details

Release details

Rated:
12A
Release date:
Friday January 23 2009
Duration:
121 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Bryan Singer
Screenwriter:
Christopher McQuarrie, Nathan Crowley
Cast:
Tom Cruise
Bill Nighy
Kenneth Branagh
Eddie Izzard
Tom Wilkinson
Carice van Houten
Thomas Kretschmann
Terence Stamp
Christian Berkel