Starring Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, and Bill Nighy
Directed By Bryan Singer (Superman Returns)
Rated PG-13 for violence and brief strong language
Appropriate for ages 13+
Operation Valkyrie is the code for a plan to assassinate Hitler a year before he committed suicide. Tom Cruise is Colonel Stauffenberg, a decorated war hero that finds himself amongst friends in not wanting history to remember his homeland as Hitler’s Germany. Along with the help and craftiness of other high ranking German officials, they set out to bring down the feurer before the allies have their chance.
While I’m not sure how much of this film is fictional and how much is “based on a true story,” I do know that this event took place and watching this movie constantly makes you wonder what would have happened if it were successful. Sorry for the spoiler – but the plan didn’t exactly work. This “what if” scenario kept playing in my head throughout and even after the film and for that reason, I have to admit the film was successful. It truly does make you think.
As for the performances, I think they were all fine – even Cruise’s. Many are put off by the American accents by some, British by others, and German by a few. Singer here uses an effect taken from Hunt for Red October by having the film start in the native tongue and then switch to English. Distracting accents or not, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.
I was also impressed by the production values of the film. This is a good-looking film that is well-paced thanks to the talent of its director and production team.
I do think that by going for a PG-13 rating instead of an R (which this film should have been aiming for), Hitler’s rule was trivialized. I know that most of us as an audience (with maybe the exception of the targeted teenagers) are fully aware of how evil this man was, but for what the film makers were going for, they didn’t show it. I don’t think there’s a possible scenario for making this an enjoyable, satisfying film, but an R rating might have made it a more powerful and emotional experience rather than just merely interesting and engaging. B-