Saturday 20 April 2024

Movie Review: Valkyrie (2008)


Genre: World War Two Drama Thriller  
Director: Bryan Singer  
Starring: Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Kenneth Branagh, Terence Stamp  
Running Time: 121 minutes  

Synopsis: Already disgruntled with the Nazi regime, the German army's Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) loses an arm and an eye in a North Africa battle. He is subsequently recruited into a group of officers conspiring to overthrow Hitler, including General Olbricht (Bill Nighy), General Beck (Terence Stamp), and General von Tresckow (Kenneth Branagh). However, the crafty General Fromm (Tom Wilkinson) remains staunchly non-committal. Stauffenberg conceives a plan to assassinate the F├╝hrer, blame the SS for an attempted coup, and activate Operation Valkyrie, a contingency protocol to deploy the reserve army.

What Works Well: Based on actual events, this brisk historical thriller enjoys good pacing and ever increasing tension fueled by risk, courage, and a sense of duty. Director Bryan Singer stages the action within quality sets and hustles tactical details along with admirable efficiency, only pausing to enjoy a couple of preceding assassination attempts. The third act is dedicated to the centrepiece July 20, 1944 bombing-plus-coup, Tom Cruise's confident charisma enhancing a faithful recreation of a chaotically tumultuous day.

What Does Not Work As Well: Despite the efforts of a stellar supporting cast, too many men-in-uniforms jostle for limited screen time, devoid of any depth outside their peripheral plot involvement. Consequently, their vision for a new Germany is opaque.

Conclusion: A worthy tribute to the cause of thwarting evil.



All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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