An excellent film from start to finish is all I can say, very moving and extremely strong in performances. The whole film was very tense all the way, I could feel myself really sweating despite the fact I knew the outcome. You wanted them to succeed you really did, you think it will be alright and they could pull off a major political overthrow, the fact they don't does crush you at the end...it is brilliantly done.
Its not a heavy film laden down with heavy politics like some films can be, its very straight to the point and doesn't ease up anywhere. It shows how many people inside the Third Reich were against Hitler and his plans from high up officials all the way down the ranks. I never knew there were so many attempts at Hitler's life
This is also a good film for the German people, I'm sure they have to endure much from films in the past where all Germans are portrayed as evil, this will balance the past somewhat I hope. It was also amazing to read at the end credits that Stauffenberg's wife only died in 2006!
Every cast member is brilliant...the cast itself is A class, even the minor roles are played well. The look is perfect and seems historically accurate, the sets are all really impressive and wardrobe is spot on. There isn't much action in this film so don't be expecting the usual war film stereotype, its mainly talk, but the words are real, hard, powerful, based on fact and don't give you a moments pause as the tension and suspense builds to its heart breaking finish.
Like 'Schindler's List' this is a serious film, not quite in the same league or as harsh of course but cannot be ignored. My only down point is maybe it would have been even better if all cast spoke in German and the film had English subs, that would have really been authentic but hard to do I guess. Full marks :)
Fun fact: no less than four actors in this film have also been in Pirates of the Caribbean 3.
The strength of the film lies in the wonderful supporting charactors, from Tom Wilkenson, to Terance Stamp, to Kenneth Branagh and even Eddie Izzard - but somehow there is an emotional detachment, even though the film attempts to show Cruise's family and how, in the middle of the takeover, he wants his secretarty to keep trying to dial his wife.
The film is earnestly shot, no gimmicks or special effects - and this is all for the better. Still, for all the great potential of the conflict of service to your ruler vs service to your country, the film never quite infuses that moral angst, and even though witnessing the eventual executions, you just don't get the emotional kickback.
That this type of film was even made, here in the 21st century, is a wonder, and I'm glad I watched it; but, as is the case with so many films, upon reflection you can see the possibility for greatness, but realize that the film missed capitalizing on that possibility.
In the case of Valkyrie, however, it pretty much gets away with it. Unlike The Bunker or other such films, there seems to be a ?knowingness? to it, a postmodern recognition that, in light of Downfall, no English-language film about the Nazis can ever claim to be definitive, and hence it is foolish to try. The only problem, resulting from this, is that it never quite decides how serious it wants to be. It flits between being a pure popcorn action thriller and a more cerebral moral drama, doing both aspects fairly well, but never quiet settling on one or the other.
The casting reflects this dilemma. On the one hand, we have a crowd of seasoned, serious British actors like Kenneth Branagh, Terence Stamp and Bill Nighy, all of whom can be called upon to deliver solid dramatic performances ranging from Shakespeare and Thomas Hardy to The Hitch-Hikers? Guide to the Galaxy. And yet on the other hand, we have the one-time definitive American action hero Tom Cruise in the lead role, and Eddie Izzard playing a comic foil which could easily work as a dumb sidekick, just as John Hannah did with Brendan Fraser in The Mummy.
The script is largely believable, and is generally well-acted, especially by Cruise, who seems to have lost a lot of weight for the part, particularly in his face. Bryan Singer?s direction is largely unremarkable for the first half, though he does manage to create genuine tension in the bunker scenes where the bomb finally goes off. The actual scenes of Operation Valkyrie, however, are both aestethically pleasing and unremarkable.
In short, Valkyrie is by no means a terrible film, but it walks the tightrope between serious and frivolous in a sometimes shaky way. Like a Coen Brothers film, you?re never really certain whether things are going to be brooding and dark, or simply forgettable and flippant. In years to come it will hold up a lot better than other Hollywood Nazi flicks, and it is a return to form for Tom Cruise, but otherwise you shouldn?t queue up to see it.
You can tell that this movie is good and well put together because it is 2 hrs. long but it only seemed to be about an hour and a half, so the film moves along very smoothly. The opening action scene is very intriguing as is the story from almost start to finish. Also, a lot of other critics are ripping on Tom Cruise's performace as he plays the charecter who is in charge of the plan to kill Hitler (Claus von Stauffenberg). They're saying that he is annoying, ruins every scene that he is in, and they're mad that he nor any of the other cast has a german accent. First of all, I thought Tom Cruise did a good and powerful job playing a true charecter that is hard to figure out. Secondly, even if the cast tried to put in a German accent, instead of screwing it up, they made a good move by keeping everything in their natural accents.
This movie definately doesn't end on a happy note. Eventhough the film tells us that Hitler eventually killed himself, why can't we see that on screen so the audience can have somewhat of a happy ending. Instead, the movie ends in a sort of bland way. I don't think i have ever seen any Hitler movie where it actually shows Hitler killing himself on screen. They almost always show the good people getting tortured and killed, but never Hitler. Also, did you notice i said "the story is intriguing from ALMOST start to finish"? Well, that's because there are a few scenes in this movie that drag on as Stauffenberg and his group just keep talking about how they're going to kill Hitler. Just do it already!
Overall, Valkrie is good, well edited, and well put together. The music is great and and adds to the intensity and good dialouge throughout the film, especially towards the end. This is not a chick flick though, but there is no doubt that history buffs will love Valkyrie.