Review: Valkyrie, 12A, 120 mins
Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Brannagh Tom Wilkinson, Eddie Izzard
Valkyrie tells the story of the 1944 German attempt to over throw the Nazi regime by assassinating Hitler.
Unfortunately, just as the assassination attempt itself was a failure so too, I’m afraid, is the film. Maybe that is too harsh, it is an acceptable Hollywood dumbing down and engaging enough.
To give credit where credit is due, I didn’t know any real details of the event before watching the film and I do certainly have a much clearer understanding of what went on – if you can ever trust Hollywood glamorization that is, but when you compare it to recent films of the same ‘true stories about Nazi Germany’ genre; The Counterfeiters as an excellent example, it pales in comparison.
In truth there are some beautiful shots but these are significantly focused away from the main action and so become welcome relief from the dire performance of Cruise and then there is the huge accent discrepancy, a factor I could not fail to ignore throughout the film.
With the majority of the characters speaking with English and American accents it is only Hitler and maybe two other army officials and a judge who employ vaguely Germanic pronunciation. Surely it should be all or none? Otherwise, as in this case, any sense of continuity is destroyed and with it any possibility of being truly affected by the actually heroic events depicted.
Thus for me at the conclusion of the film, after the attempt had failed, Hitler regained power and the ‘traitors’ are lined up to be executed. I couldn’t help but feel that although the treason they were sentenced with was senseless and left me appalled once more at the ridiculousness of the Nazi mentality, their massive accent inequalities were actually criminal enough offences to warrant them all being shot. Somehow I don’t think that was the effect intended.