Director Bryan Singer (“X-Men”) reunites with screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie, who wrote “The Usual Suspects” for Singer, with “Valkyrie.” Tom Cruise stars as Claus von Stauffenberg, a member of the German resistance during World War II who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander wrote the film, based on the true story of Operation Valkyrie, which was Hitler’s emergency plan to stabilize power in case of his death. Colonel Stauffenberg and other military members of the German resistance planned to use Valkyrie to instead stage a coup d’etat, removing Hitler’s cronies from power.
Stauffenberg, who lost an eye, a hand, and two additional fingers in the war, is promoted into a position where he has some contact with Hitler. As such, Stauffenberg moves from being the man who will help stabilize a post-Hitler government during the coup into the man who will deliver the bomb.
Singer builds suspense throughout, despite most of the audience knowing the eventual outcome. The main complaints will no doubt be related to Tom Cruise – despite playing a German officer, he looks and sounds like Tom Cruise. (The real von Stauffenberg, however, did resemble Cruise.) I didn’t find the non-German accents distracting in the course of watching the film, but some may. Cruise is surrounded by an excellent supporting cast. Also portraying members of the resistance are Kenneth Branagh as Major-General Henning von Tresckow, Bill Nighy as General Friedrich Olbricht and Terrence Stamp as Ludwig Beck.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Carice Van Houten
(violence and brief strong language)