in Review

Ride of the Valkyries


Based on the true story of a group of German officers that attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler on July 20th, 1945, Valkyrie is a fascinating and razor sharp wartime thriller from director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men). Although a tragic story that many have probably never even heard of, the men of Operation Valkyrie should be remembered just for how close they got to bringing down Hitler. Valkyrie gives us an interesting look at the dissatisfaction and disgust of Hitler’s Nazi regime within his very own military.

Tom Cruise plays Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, a German officer who after losing his left eye, right hand and two fingers on other hand from an attack in Tunisia becomes the leader of a plot to kill Hitler. Accompanied by an accomplished cast including; Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilkinson, Terrence Stamp, Billy Nighy and Eddie Izzard and they really drive this one home. A lot of people seem to hate Tom Cruise due to his zany personal life, but if you can look past his celebrity persona he’s pretty good in this. Kenneth Branagh is another highlight but he doesn’t have too much screen time, aside from that everyone brings just the right amount of class and subtlety to their individual characters.

Valkyrie can be a surprisingly tense film despite the lack of any real battle scenes. There are some gun shots and a few ear shattering explosions here and there, but what really draws you in is every building moment that these men try to succeed with their essentially life or death mission. Any idiot could probably guess that they don’t succeed as everyone knows Hitler committed suicide in Berlin, but still you’re stuck in this film’s tight grasp to see how it all unravels.

I think this is an important WWII story for anyone to know, even if it didn’t really go quite as planned. You can’t really give this film a satisfying ending and it’s lack of resolution makes it feel incomplete, almost like it’s a random episode in some war miniseries. Then again what better way is there to inform people about important events than with a movie? Maybe that’s sad but people are dumb and sometimes a movie is just what we need to get talking about a certain topic. I’m not exactly sure how accurate this film was but I did find it informative more or less. It does seem to be lacking something but I can’t quite put my finger on it, though I should be lucky I have all of mine.