It’s been ten years since the release of Valkyrie, the movie depiction of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg’s assassination attempt on Hitler. Before elaborating, the other significant attempt worth mentioning is Georg Elser’s. The small town carpenter from southern Germany who planted a bomb near the Fuehrer only to have missed timed the explosion by thirteen minutes.
Valkyrie, based on Stauffenberg’s assassination attempt is after all, another historical movie and so the end result cannot be glossed over: the attempt is a failure. Some would argue that Hitler’s surviving these attempts assisted the end of the Nazi regime because, had Himmler or Goebbels taken his place, the threat of world domination was a real possibility.
Stauffenberg (Tom Cruse) is wounded in action and returns from Africa to Berlin’s Ministry of Defence. He is inducted into a secret group of military men plotting to kill the Fuehrer. Meanwhile, the Allies are fast advancing on Berlin and so the Colonel and his co-conspirators must act quickly. It’s a bold plan and the risks cannot be higher – for Germany, for the world and ultimately for their lives.
True to life, the one-eyed Colonel is handicapped by group conflict and internal machinations that invariably surface when the stakes are so high. What is not conveyed and written out of the screen play altogether is von Stauffenberg’s dubious nationalistic outlook that is ethically questionable and would ruin the hero/villain Hollywood formula.
Tom Cruise’s performance is persuasive without over dramatising and his American accent doesn’t detract. You’d expect sets and costumes to be wonderful and yes, the uniforms are so stiff they could goose-step unassisted.. (shop Hugo Boss). An escapist historical thriller to entertain both historians and mainstream audiences.
Directed by Bryan Singer
Written by Christopher McQuarrie, Nathan Alexander
Tom Cruise as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg
Kenneth Branagh as Major-General Henning von Tresckow
Bill Nighy as General Friedrich Olbricht
Tom Wilkinson as General Friedrich Fromm
Carice van Houten as Nina von Stauffenberg
Thomas Kretschmann as Major Otto Ernst Remer
Terence Stamp as General Ludwig Beck