Review: Valkyrie (2009)


Directed by: Bryan Singer | 121 minutes | drama, thriller, war, history | Actors: Tom Cruise, Manfred-Anton Algrang, David Bamber, Matthias Freihof, Stephen Fry, Andy Gatjen, Christopher Karl Hemeyer, Carice van Houten, Eddie Izzard, Justus Kammerer, Thomas Kretschmann, Bill Nighy, Florian Panzner, Halina Reijn, Matthias Schweighöfer , Terence Stamp, Tom Wilkinson, Kenneth Branagh, Kevin McNally, David Schofield, Jamie Parker, Christian Berkel, Werner Daehn, Gerhard Haase-Hindenberg, Philipp von Schulthess, Karl-Alexander Seidel, Timo Huber

Tunisia, 1943. Claus Von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise), a senior officer in the German army, fights at the front in Africa where he tries almost openly subversively to limit the loss of men as much as possible, so cynical has he become by the barbarity of the Hitler regime. As a member of the nobility, he had to watch with sorrow how the land of poets and thinkers was lost by the uncivilized Nazis. He is seriously injured in an air raid and more determined than before to try to rip his beloved Germany from the clutches of the supreme ruler and his henchmen.

After his return from the front, Von Stauffenberg plans an attempt on Hitler’s life with a group of senior officers. Von Stauffenberg thinks the assassination attempt is not enough on its own, and Germany must also be considered after Hitler’s death. For this he uses Hitler’s own ‘Operation Walküre’, a detailed plan to call in the reserve armies spread across Germany in the event of riots, for example after bombing by the Allies. However, the death of the Fuehrer is an essential condition for obtaining the cooperation of the most important leaders of the resistance movement for this. Von Stauffenberg is the only one who can get close to Hitler, but what can a war invalid with only one eye and only one hand with only three fingers do?

The film is based on the true, very intriguing story of Claus Von Stauffenberg and his supporters, but instead of a grand drama, ‘Valkyrie’ is neither meat nor fish. For the general public, the way in which Von Stauffenberg and his supporters prepare for the attack on Hitler is too complicated and long-winded, not to mention the complex events that follow. For the history buffs, the film adds little to what a good eyewitness documentary and historical footage couldn’t cover, so why waste so much time, money and effort? But the biggest flaw in the film is that it is not exciting enough. The fact that the outcome is already known does not have to be an obstacle, as long as the road to that known ending is compelling. Entertaining is ‘Valkyrie’ though,

Visually, the film is overwhelming: muted colors are beautifully alternated with, for example, the bright red of the swastika flags, there are beautiful locations and interiors, the military equipment and the cars can be put through a ring and the costumes and accessories are also a delight. for the eye. The music is penetrating and threatening and largely compensates for the lack of tension, but it cannot hide the fact that something essential is missing. It is nice for Carice van Houten that she can put this major production on her curriculum vitae, but she certainly does not impress, her role is much too flat for that. She is more of a background to Tom Cruise and, given her great talent and beauty, that can safely be called a waste. Consolation is, that this also applies to the whole series of incredibly good actors who perform in this film. As a director, you should be able to make a brilliant film with just half of that.

Tom Cruise plays neatly modestly for himself, but the obligatory, coquettish tantrum with which he always wants to show how well he can act, is also not lacking in this film. Slightly embarrassing to watch. If you like beautiful pictures and music and at the same time want to learn something from an intriguing episode in German history, you should definitely see ‘Valkyrie’. If you hope for a thrilling, psychologically compelling drama about people endangering their lives and those of their loved ones, trying to end tyrannical rule in an unbelievably brave way, you can spare yourself the trouble.

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