Sunday, January 25, 2009
Film Review - Valkyrie
Dir. Bryan Singer (Superman Returns, Xmen and Usual Suspects)
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Achtung!! We have new intelligence about a rare group of ‘honourable’ Nazi Soldiers who attempted to save Europe from total destruction by assassinating Adolf Hitler. These brave souls risked everything to try and cut the evil heart from the SS war machine and show the world that not all Germans signed up to Hitler’s detestable ideology.
Bryan ‘The Usual Suspects’ Singer directs a stellar cast which works to honour the memory of those who took a stand for what was right even if it cost them everything. Because let’s face it, it’s not like we don’t know that this is one mission that never quite worked out how they had planned.
So we have Tom Cruise Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a valiant commander who realised that he could not serve both the best interests of Germany and his moustachioed Fuhrer – it had to be one or the other. He is recruited by the plot to take out Hitler by General Friedrich Olbricht (a convincingly twitchy and nervous Bill Nighy) and Major-General Henning von Tresckow (an overly smug Kenneth Branagh who struggles to keep his loviness in check). After losing a hand, an eye and what was left of his allegiance to Fuhrer in an allied attack, Stauffenberg signs up and commits what’s left of his body to the cause with vigour. Spouting superb lines such as “I am involved in high treason with all means available to me. Can I count you in?” Cruise is great value in the main role – I was won over quickly despite his accent fluctuations, he just really looks the part in his shiny Nazi boots and black eye-patch.
Valkyrie works better than many big budget Hollywood remaking of historic moment films *cough ‘Pearl Harbour’ cough*… Singer is a great director and he manages to imbibe real emotion despite the heavy weight Brit cast which contains Terrence Stamp, Eddie Izzard, and Tom Wilkinson all madly trying to out act each other.
There is palpable tension which mounts as the traitors put their audacious plan into operation. What they tried to do would have made such as massive difference and saved millions of lives that you can’t help but be heartbroken by the events that undo their scheme.
Valkyrie might not be getting Oscar attention but anyone looking for a well made military thriller should enlist today for this slick nail biter that reminds us all that while many saw evil, some tried to fight it.
Arbitrary Darkmatters final rating: ööööööö (7 - GOOD)
Darkmatters quick reference guide (new for 2009):
Action 8, Style 8, Babes 6, Comedy 4, Spiritual Enlightenment 5
+ A film that makes you want to take a stand...
Best line: " The point of replacing Hitler is to negotiate the truce with the Allies. The Allies, I suspect would be more amenable to a truce if we offer it to them before they get to f**king Berlin! ."