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30th January, 2009
Directed by Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men) and starring Tom Cruise, Valkyrie tells the story of the last assassination attempt of Hitler by Germans during WWII. The word ‘Valkyrie’ comes from Scandinavian mythology referring to those who choose who is killed in battle.
In this case it is Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise) who is part of a larger group of dissatisfied German politicians and soldiers, who decides that Hitler must die for the good of Germany and Europe.
Valkyrie’s success as a movie lies in two places. The first is that despite the obvious outcome of the assassination attempt, it maintains the tension throughout the movie. Even though the failure is imminent you find yourself not only engaged by the story and hoping for a different outcome, but when the realisation occurs that this is not to be, it is intriguing to watch how the plan slowly comes apart at the seams.
The second factor that makes Valkyrie enjoyable is the cast. Tom Cruise plays the focused and determined individual very well, he should, he has been playing that role for many years.
The supporting cast contains Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Terrence Stamp, and Eddie Izzard all in important roles and they all add a certain weight to the movie.
The one small point that may be annoying for some viewers is accepting the range of American and English accents for German characters. Regardless, Valkyrie is a solid movie with good performances and an exciting story. Watching this is two hours well spent.
* * * (3 1/2 STARS)
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