Valkyrie (2008) – Review

The year is 1944 and most senior German officials know that their country is about to lose the war. Honourable surrender seems the only way out, sparing a countless number of deaths in the process, but that is not going to be possible with Adolf Hitler (David Bamber) at the helm. Consequently, operation Valkyrie was set up to eliminate Hitler, this being led by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise), an officer that had previously lost his left eye and right hand in combat. When things don’t go according to plan, however, the situation becomes hostile. Valkyrie is an impressive World War 2 based flick that was originally released in 2008.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Christopher McQuarrie, Nathan Alexander
Starring: Tom Cruise, Carice van Houten, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh

Fifteen official documented assassination attempts were made on Adolf Hitler’s life, with Valkyrie being the final one. This film follows the story of that final assassination attempt and despite history telling us the outcome of this attempt, the filmmakers still managed to present a thoroughly enjoyable historical drama, with a large amount of education thrown in too.

One of the primary strengths of the flick would have to be the powerfulness of certain scenes, along with the way the filmmakers managed to gain the viewers emotional investment when it came to certain characters, especially that of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. The character himself was painted as a very likeable family man that knew Hitler’s destruction had to stop because of the pain it was causing his own people. The brutal nature of the film in general, served as a stark reminder that an ungodly number of senseless executions and general killings were going on during World War 2.

Of course, there was always going to be pockets of people that bemoan the fact that this German inspired war drama, used primarily American and British actors, with very little authentic German dialogue actually being on on display. If, however, you’re able to bypass that, then I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to appreciate the film for what it is.

In terms of the cast, Tom Cruise adopted the role of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, the lead man, with Carice van Houten portraying his wife – Nina von Stauffenberg. The support cast was rather large and included some well-known names too, with Bill Nighy and Kenneth Branagh being the two most notable, starring as General Friedrich Olbricht and General Henning von Tresckow, respectively. Elsewhere, Tom Wilkinson also featured, as well as an appearance from Eddie Izzard.

All in all, Valkyrie stands out to me as being an important film that highlights one of the many unsuccessful plots to kill Adolf Hitler. It wasn’t filled with action, as it didn’t need to be, but it had just the right amount of suspense and tension to keep you intrigued from the first minute until the last. Well worth a watch for anyone interested in historical dramas that have the ability to keep you on the edge of your seat.

“Look them in the eye… They’ll remember you.”

Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg – Valkyrie

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