VALKYRIE (***) - Starring Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten, Terence Stamp, Thomas Kretchmann and Eddie Izzard.
Directed by Bryan Singer.
Maybe when it was conceived, this movie was Oscar-bait material. Its journey has resulted in a straight-forward action-thriller, albeit one with an inevitable unhappy ending. As my wife put it, "it's hard to watch a movie about good people doing the right thing, knowing they're going to fail miserably."
Nevertheless the Nazi is Hollywood's most utilized villain, and by extension, the German. Now we get a movie where the majority of Germans are good guys who just find themselves trapped in a bizarro world where their country is ruled by a madman. Tom Cruise is fine, if a bit out of place, as Col. Stauffenberg, the one-eyed soldier who sees that Hitler must be stopped, and he finds a circle of rebels, generals and such, all played by Brits, who need a decisive man to join their team.
Every man knows he will be killed if they fail, but they fear the consequences if they do nothing. I didn't read in advance, so I didn't know the fate of their families, and every time we see Mrs. Stauffenberg (Black Book's Carice van Houten, underutilized here), I wondered if she and the children would suffer the same fate we know her husband will.
Adding to the pain is to see how well the rest of their plan would have gone, if only Stauffenberg's bomb had actually killed Hitler. I'd love to see the Holodeck simulation on that one.