17 January 2009

At the movies: Valkyrie.

Based on the real-life story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise), a ranking German Army official who led a secret group (including Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Izzard, and Terrence Stamp) to plot the assassination of Hitler, Valkyrie is a World War II film quite unlike anything that has come before it.

Trash was being talked about this film before it had even begun production, with the "Tom Cruise Nazi" movie becoming something of a punchline. But then people actually started seeing the film, and tunes started changing. Director Bryan Singer knows how to construct a good visual story, and we get a reunion of Carice van Houten and Halina Reijn from Black Book as well.

The big problem with this film is a historical one. We know that Stauffenberg and his collaboratiors sadly did not succeed in assassinating Adolf Hitler, so that messes with any heroic rush or adventurous moments that we're given by this film. That said, Bryan Singer follows up the exceptional Superman Returns with an engrossing thriller that gets at some provocative issues while providing an abundance of good performances.

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