Saturday, January 10, 2009


Tom Cruise finally takes this movie to the public. It has been sitting on the sidelines for some time now. The Germans were against this for many reasons. They do not like what Cruise stands for in terms of his joke philosophy which is supposed to be a religion. It is not the latter and Cruise's outspoken and borderline agressive promotion of this quasi-religion only puts Scientology in a bad light. Ofcourse it is already and will always be in a negative light to me since it is just strange and is an organized cult. Even more so than Mormonism.

The Germans want nothing to do with an odd cult like this because is not understandable by any reasonable person, much like Nazism. The Germans objected to this film on multiple counts. Some I have just mentioned. They do not want the world to be reminded of their past and they did not like the star of the film any how. I understand them not liking Cruise and the strange irony in him being the star of this movie. But the world should never be forgotten of this time in man's history since it is so dark. We should not forgot our history. Not that different than certain leftists in the contemporary era trying to forget that Sept. 11th ever occured.

This movie was stimulating. It showed how a coordinated plan of this magnitude and secrecy was initiated. Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg who was one of the military elements of this coup. Terence Stamp plays Ludwig Beck who was going to lead Germany out of this horrendous moment of their history. He was going to be the new face of Germany.

Their plan was to wipe out the Fuhrer which was Adolf Hitler. Unlike the terrorist organizations of today that seem to have multiple heads, the Fuhrer could supposedly be toppled if the head is cut off. In this case, literally blown up. This movie does not indicate how many people died in the explosion, one needs to turn to Discovery channel or read some history on Wikipedia or a variety of other sources. It would have been nice if this was explained. I do know that Hitler was spared from being killed in this manner because someone in the room moved the briefcase and the solid oak table prevented the explosion from taking this arch enemy out. The movie does explain at the end in text that Hitler committed suicide in his bunker about 9 months later. So, if this coup was successful, it would have only wiped 9 months off of Hitler's life span but this was probably several thousand lives. Ofcourse Stauffenberg and Beck do not know how much longer the war will last nor how much longer Hitler would exist. For they know, they could be saving years of fighting and not just about 9 additional months. Ofcourse knocked 9 days off of war would have been worth the effort.

Tom Wilkinson plays General Friedrich Fromm who I have read about in the history books. Fromm is not as dedicated as Stauffenberg nor this clandestine group that wants to severe the head of Germany. He attempts to have it both ways and is in the awesome position to do so. He is cognizant of the attempt and sort of purvey to some of the actions that are supposed to be taken after the operation succeeds.

Tom Wilkinson is just on a torrid streak. He is recieving some coveted roles. I first saw him in the excellent but frightening movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose and he performed magnificently. He was in the winning hit which was Michael Clayton. Among other films, he performs well as General Friedrich Fromm. Fromm wanted to wait until and if the assassination was successful. It seemed to be at first, for the first several hours, but then later on that night, the terrible message was sent out by Hitler to indicate he was still alive.

Stauffenberg and his secret group wanted to control Berlin using the Valkyrie plan which was developed just in case the Fuhrer was ever eliminated. They were to use those troops and men to arrest the evil SS and all of the Nazi offices in and around Berlin. This coup was well staged and executed almost to the T, but the bombing strike was not successful. It would have been if Stauffenberg was willing to take his own life. But he is not psychotic Muslim and he had a wife and family. He could have remained in the room and just held onto the briefcase to ensure Hitler was eliminated.

The plan was thrown a loop when the meeting was to take place in Hitler's secured bunker. This bunker was air tight and the explosion would have blown the fire and explosion through the corridor killing everyone. This was explained in the middle of the movie by a ordinance expert. But because of the heat this meeting of military news and strategy was held in an open window, above ground, meeting room where the blast was spread around and never seemed to ignite like originally planned.

The movie could have explained more but it did enough. There was not any wasted scenes, the writing was solid, it was suspensful. It was not Schindler's list but it was close. This movie was a planning movie, I like this stuff. It resembled Robert Redford's The Last Castle and even a little of Prison Break. This is cool to me. The attention to detail was realistic and this movie does transport the viewer back into Nazi held Germany.

Seeing Cruise in an eye patch was different but Stauffenberg lost his eye fighting in Northern Germany. In the beginning, he was seen while narrating his anti fuhrer views, writing down his viewpoints. Though sensible to us, it would seem unwise to put those notions to paper for any reasons. If those papers ever wound up in the wrong hands, he would taken away by the SS one day or night and never heard from again. Also, placing his family at risk.

This movie was better than Australia. Probably not on the level of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button but it is still worth watching. Button was too creative and that is what sets this movie apart.

Valkyrie, seems more akin to Viking vernacular than German. Perhaps it is.

I allocate this movie 3 stars. ***

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