Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson
Valkyrie is this unpleasant mixture of accents and an overpowering character of Tom Cruise. There is nothing but the spectacularly shot action scenes that thrill in this film about a plot to kill Hitler.
Set in 1944 the film speaks of a foiled attempt to kill Hitler. The mastermind behind it all is Colonel Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) and a group of high ranking German officials who seek to see a free Germany. Together they hatch a plan to kill Hitler at the Wolf’s Lair Headquarters, but attempt after attempt they only come close to succeeding in their plan. Eventually all supposedly goes well, but Hitler lives. A film more about the devious plan ends up being about Cruise.
Due credit given to some of the sequences in Valkyrie, which have you take notice. The spectacular visuals and well captured action sequences are great, sadly though that isn’t enough to pull the film through. The moment the first dialogue is uttered in English, you feel let down. The film is unconvincing because while the dialogues are being uttered in English, there a few that are in German. The communication messages being sent out to the various government departments in the film are in German, the singer at the club sings in German and essentially you are sitting there wishing the whole film would be in one particular language. Even when it comes to the English dialogues the many different accents hit you hard.
While you have pretty much guessed it’s a plot to kill Hitler, the film is not particularly exciting in the how. What you essentially see through the film is Tom Cruise and a lot more of him. The films pace is also slow and thus concentration turns to become a problem. If that’s not all, the film moves into showing Cruise as this doting family man, an aspect that besides giving importance to him yet again fails to add to the film. What is disappointing is the fact that in film about Hitler, you hardly see his character. With a few glimpses all you are led to believe is that he is out to be killed and that is quite hard to fathom.
Technically the film is superb but sadly that’s all the linear structured film relies on. Another major aspect of the film is that it flows from start to finish and there isn’t really a build-up that draws you in. Even when it comes to the characters — barring the uniforms and getting the look right – there isn’t really anything more. The film looks like it begins from the middle of a page and the excitement of seeing something complete is taken away from you.
For a film about Tom Cruise, he really does not put up an act that you walk out remembering. Nighy, Wilkinson or any of the other actors for that matter are overshadowed by Cruise’s character and are given hardly any room to perform.
Valkyrie as a film does not satisfy the hunger for good cinema, it still leaves you hungry. Watch the film only to learn about the foiled attempt but mind you the price of doing that is quite steep.