Valkyrie Directed by Bryan Singer, written by Christopher McQuarrie & Nathan Alexander. Starring Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson. 2008. PG-13 120 minutes.
Valkyrie is a good World War II movie and fits well with the many World War II movies made in the 1960s and 1970s. It’s not a “great” Oscar-bait type movie, but Singer tells the story well and the acting is superb.
The story of Valkyrie is about the famous assassination attempt on Hitler by members of his own high command. Previously, I had known that there was a bomb in a briefcase that got placed too far under a table and only slightly wounded Hitler, but I did not know all the story around it and how it went farther than just an assassination attempt, but also a coordinated attempt to take over the government. There are quite a few important men involved in the coup and it is far from a neat single-minded group. However, they consider the cause to be greater than anything, even endangering their own families.
Tom Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg who was seriously injured in North Africa and could have sat out the war in a comfortable position in Berlin. Instead, he becomes a “traitor,” as he willing calls himself, to save the honor of his beloved Germany. Country above party or current leader. They also show von Stauffenberg as the committed Roman Catholic that he was.
Tom Cruise is a Movie Star. And I say that as someone who isn’t really a Tom Cruise fan. He holds the screen anytime he is on, his charisma captivates you. But, he is a good enough actor to sink into the roll and not overwhelm it, as several top actors/actresses of the 1970s have taken to doing. Many of the other actors show the complexity and conflicts of their characters.
Valkyrie is rated PG-13, but except for one word could have been PG. Patton has more swearing and The Guns of Navarone has more violence. My 13-year old son wanted to go, but I don’t trust the ratings system. After seeing it, I should have taken him, in fact, my 10-year old will probably watch Valkarie when it comes out on video.