Valkyrie film review
Movie star Tom Cruise acts in Valkyrie
Directed by Bryan Singer under the United Artist studios, Valkyrie is a 2008 film that depicts the historical events leading up to the last known foiled assassination attempt of Adolf Hitler. There have been many, many assassination attempts of Adolf Hitler and since none were successful, Hitler often boasted that the failures were divine plan. He was not meant to be killed. He did however take his own life in 1945, just nine months after the July 1944 assassination attempt depicted in Valkyrie.
Tom Cruise stars in the film. He plays a German soldier who becomes jaded. His belief in the mission of Hitler's Germany is thwarted because he sees that innocent people are being hurt and killed. He feels that this can not be right. He is ashamed for the role he is playing in the war and wants to turn things around. He endeavors to do so as a member of the German resistance and turns to his comrades for help.
Movie Poster for Valkyrie starring Tom Cruise
Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg against Hitler's tyranny
Cruise's character, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, is pleasantly surprised when he gains many advocates. It turns out that many, many men had begun to doubt the mission and were beginning to look toward their own better moral compasses as opposed to Hitler's tyranny. That is a preeminent reason for their joining the German resistance, although some had various reasons.
Colonel von Stauffenberg with the support of his colleages is now able to devise a plan for an attack on Hitler. There is no doubt that von Stauffenberg is a good leader and a good soldier. To emphasize this, the fact that he was badly injured including losing an eye in battle and still overcame his injuries to continue as a soldier is highlighted.
Colonel von Stauffenberg is so tough that sometimes he will wear an eyepatch in scenes but then habitually carries his eye around and as he thinks the circumstance dictates, he will pop it back into the socket to feign still being able to see with that eye. He does this often throughout the film and it gives me a queasy feeling every time. Especially, when meeting with Hitler, he makes a point of not wearing the eye patch.
Okay, so we know von Stauffenberg is tough but can he pull off the attack on Hitler?
Turns out he gets closer than many others have. He successfully plants a bomb to set off an explosion in a room where Hitler is meeting with soldiers. As von Stauffenberg runs away from the scene, the bomb does indeed activate and there is an explosion as he barely gets out of harm's way.
Because of this, he is confident that Hitler must have been killed. We are given the impression that he is lying to himself but he wants to believe so badly that he relays the message of Hitler's death to his comrades without waiting for confirmation.
This lie to himself and others is what sets off the attempted takeover of Hitler's Germany. Operators at various switchboards are instructed to type "Hitler's dead, Hitler's dead".
Colonel von Stauffenberg continues his plot with only a few accusing him of blatant treason. He attempts to shut those few up by threatening imprisonment. He states in effect, Hitler is dead and I am leading Operation Valkyrie which was to be put into effect at the time of his death. If you disagree and do not follow, you will be imprisoned.
In actuality, Operation Valkyrie is not a plan that Hitler would have approved of in a million years but Colonel von Stauffenberg was so trusted as an admirable soldier that he had successfully gotten Hitler to sign off on the plan without even reading it. Hitler did not read the document for Operation Valkyrie but instead added his signature to it while chatting with von Stauffenberg and stating, "I trust you."
So, it took this German soldier on the inside of the operations to be able to get as close as he did to assassinating Hitler.
He is almost but not quite successful. He is still touted a hero by his comrades for how far he came.
A true German countryman
Colonel von Stauffenberg is a true countryman and as he expresses with his sentiment, "Long live Germany", he cares very much for Germany just not the path the country has taken under the reign of Hitler.
It would not be difficult to guess the fate of Colonel von Stauffenberg in his ill-fated plot but here is where I will end the review to avoid spoilers.
I highly recommend this film and although I did not enjoy it quite as much as Defiance (a similarly themed film released around the same time and for which I have also written a review), I thought it was very well made and Tom Cruise gave a great performance.
I rate it 3.5/5
Rated PG-13 for violence and brief strong language