Friday, December 26, 2008

Movie Review: Valkyrie

I have 4 movies in the watch list - Frost/Nixon, Slumdog, Valkyrie and Benjamin Button. so I went to the theater thinking I'll buy whats available. So i bought tickets for continuous shows. 7:30 PM Valkyrie and 10:30 PM Benjamin Button.

Valkyrie, directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men, Superman, Usual Suspects), is a very taut thriller that documents one of the several assassination attempts on Hitler. It is a motion picture based on a true story. And it is a very good movie that is unfortunately limited by the necessity to stick to facts. If this were not a true story it would have had more entertainment potential. There are several movies that have documented stories surrounding Hitler. Nazi, Germany and Jews. Yes, the Jews have suffered and yes! Hitler was a bad guy. The collective angst of the sufferers have not died out. At least in Hollywood. So here is one more movie that tells us the story from the German perspective. There is going to be one more, starring Daniel Craig, next year. So frankly, I am getting tired of it all.

Valkyrie is a story from the German perspective. There are no Jews shown and no atrocities shown. This movie tries to tell us that there were good among the Nazi Germans too. Those who did not agree with Hitler. Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg is a German army officer, played by Tom Cruise, who leads the assasination attempt on Hitler and comes up with a rather curious plan to take over Germany after Hitler's death. The Wikipedia link provided above should provide all the gory details on Stauffenberg and Valkyrie. As far as the movie goes, it kept me riveted on the edge of my seat. The disadvantage of the movie was that almost everybody going into the theater knew the ending. However, the movie did well to have a firm grasp on the viewer's attention until the last minute. There were moments we almost feel and will in favor of the characters we like. This movie, although, shows us glimpses of Hitler and even has him mouth a few dialogs -> never shows the sequence of events from Hitler's perspective. It focuses on Stauffenberg's world and events as it happens to him.

Tom Cruise plays the lead role with his usual intensity. He has the Kamal Hasan factor where the actor always surfaces above the character and makes us notice the actor more than the character. In this movie it does not hurt because we are made to believe that Stauffenberg was a similarly intense, cold and determined person as portrayed by Tom Cruise. The plot kept us all informed about what was being planned and the efforts required by different parties within the resistance movement to make the plan work. So it was fun to watch the plan go astray, like all plans do, due to a variety of reasons. General Friedrich Fromm is another interesting character played with a lot of grace by Tom Wilkinson as a person with a foot on both sides of the fence. The dialogs and negotiations Tom Cruise does with various parties were delightful and ranged from blunt/direct (the way he recruits his assistant) to extremely subtle (his conversations with Fromm). All in all it is no Schindler's List or Saving Private Ryan but it is certainly worth going to the theater.

P.S: I was too tired when I came out of Valkyrie so postponed the Benjamin Button ticket to today


Anonymous said...

"He has the Kamal Hasan factor where the actor always surfaces above the character and makes us notice the actor more than the character"

Good thing or a bad thing?

May be it depends if you like the actor or not right? :)

I was hoping to catch the movies over the weekend but am not sure of it now. Too manyt hings to do.


Gradwolf said...

Did you notice how Tom Cruise bears an uncanny resemblance to the real von Stauffenberg? Super casting...Have not seen the movie though...

Gradwolf said...

don't miss slumdog!

terminal said...

Valkyrie is that last movie I saw it was the best movie I seen for some time. I really wait to see it because after seen the trailer of Valkyrie I felt that it is going to grate adventure action. The respective look of the movie is pretty. When every body is including performing at the very best to make it more live as world war. Even is saw lot war movies and download the regularly with this movie Valkyrie is the best selection for me.