I was one of those guys who used to think Tom Cruise was a pretty boy lame-o that never did anything of merit. I really don’t know why. Maybe it was the “punk” thing to do at the time or something. I have to say that I’m glad in life that you always seem to get a chance to prove yourself wrong and realize that you really are an idiot who needs to open his eyes. You know, I really can’t think of a single Tom Cruise movie I hated. Not one. Now I can add another one to my list – Valkyrie.
As usual, I’m going to let someone else (Jarodsu from iMDB) provide the synopsis for the film and then go from there: “At the height of WW2, a group of high-ranking German officers hatched a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, and seize power of the military command in order to end the war. The operation was codenamed “Valkyrie”, for the emergency plan that was meant to be used in case of a revolt against the Nazi government. This plan had been modified by the conspirators to ensure their success.” Will it lead to their victory?
No matter what you think of Tom’s personal life and wackiness he seems to air in public, there is one thing that is absolute. The man never gives a lackluster performance. He pours his heart and soul into every role he takes on. It’s no different with his role as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. You can literally feel him digging into the mind of the character and really exploring the passion of this man’s beliefs. Cruise played the role so well and convincingly that you completely forget he’s not using a German accent five minutes into the movie.
The supporting cast is a regular who’s who of quality veteran and new names in the business, including Terence Stamp, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilkerson, Eddie Izzard, and more. Each of them shines and gives a most powerful performance in the time their character is allotted. Tom Hollander, who played the vicious and slimy Lord Cutler Beckett in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, has the role of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg – Attentat and brings that same kind of charisma to this performance as well. David Bamber, who plays Hitler, is very convincing and really captures the essence and characteristics that you would imagine the man having. He is a frail and paranoid little man. But he is powerful and very stern as well. I think it was a perfect performance.
Bryan Singer, as usual, directs this with fierce conviction and manages to keep the suspense built, even though most people already know how this is going to end. That’s the true stamp of a great director. The man really knows how to balance suspense, romance, and adventurism all in the same project. He seems to have a fixation on the evils of Nazism. I myself can think of three films where he explores this right off the top of my head – Apt Pupil, X-Men, and now Valkyrie. Valkyrie almost feels like a strange kind of companion piece to Apt Pupil in a way.
If you’re into war movies or just good suspense and thriller films, I would definitely suggest Valkyrie. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. It is also thought-provoking and educating while not losing any of its entertainment values.