I recently spent a weekend visiting friends in Pennsylvania, and decided to go an see the latest Tom Cruise vanity project, “Valkyrie.”
I have boycotted Tom Cruise movies for several years now, in opposition to his bizarre public pronouncements concerning the dangerous and deadly Scientology cult.
The subject of the film, however — an attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler by members of the Germany Army and led by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg — was of great interest, and so off we went.
Let’s begin with the accents. All of the actors in the film acted with their own, real-life, accents, both American and British. Ultimately I found this to be the best decision, as nothing detracts from a film like faulty accents (like, for example, Kevin Costner’s shifting accent in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.”)
This film faces the challenge that the failed outcome of the plot is well known. The Führer survived the assassination attempt and Colonel Stauffenberg and his comrades were executed for treason. Despite this, the filmmakers did an admirable job of keep up the tension and the momentum as the story unfolds. The characters are well-developed and fascinating. there are those like Stauffenberg determined to bring down Hitler and save Germany from her losing war, and those like General Olbricht who waffle throughout the film. Others, like General Fromm, survive by playing both sides with great skill.
And Cruise? He did fine. Not horrible, not outstanding. Other actors, such as Tom Wilkerson, Kenneth Branaugh and Bill Nihey, turned in fantastic performances and helped to make this a very good film. Surprisingly good, I might add, as my expectations were rather low.