Operation Walküre – Das Stauffenberg-Attentat (2008)

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Operation Walküre – Das Stauffenberg-Attentat: Directed by Bryan Singer. With Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson. A dramatization of the July 20, 1944 assassination and political coup plot by desperate renegade German Army officers against Adolf Hitler during World War II.

“Iu0026#39;m not really a fan of Tom Cruise so I let this film go past me until it came to TV because I just thought it screamed u0026quot;star vehicleu0026quot; too loudly. In reality I was probably a bit too hasty with that call because Valkyrie is a solid little film that delivers an interesting story with the predictable Hollywood liberty but does so in a rather satisfying manner. Having decided to put my personal feelings on Cruise to one side, I did still think that the film would struggle because ultimately I already knew the ending (spoiler: the plot to assassinate Hitler isnu0026#39;t successful) and it would therefore not be able to hook me in. I think in a way this was correct but not really in the way that I thought.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIn terms of just straight up narrative flow the film does engage; OK it maybe takes a while to establish the main players and get things moving forward but ultimately, while I knew they would fail, I was interested to see what happens, how it happens and what they did. On this level I enjoyed the film and although it was a full two hours long I wasnu0026#39;t bored by it and it felt like it was as long as it should have been. Where I thought it didnu0026#39;t quite pull it off is in the portrayal of why the conspirators felt they had to act. In this regard I didnu0026#39;t feel their desperation and I didnu0026#39;t get a tangible sense of how bad things were at this point in the war for Germany; I know from other films etc how bad things were but this film didnu0026#39;t really do that so much as simply say that things were bad. Likewise I didnu0026#39;t get a feel for the emotions behind the plot and instead I got the impression that the film was taking it as read that everyone dislikes Hitler and therefore that would be all the understanding we would need – this is perhaps partly true but the film needed this as part of it, not an external thing brought by modern audiences.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eSinger does a really good job in terms of direction. There isnu0026#39;t a huge amount of action here but the tension is good and it is very well delivered to be a lot more effective than I thought it would be (again, the issue over knowing the ending). The cast is deep in quality but, like me, many will get stuck at Cruise. He does an OK job by which I mean he doesnu0026#39;t overplay or make it all about him the personality. The downside of this is that he doesnu0026#39;t bring much character out either and I didnu0026#39;t see much of a person in his character – he does have presence though, which helps a lot. The supporting cast is rich and their presence also helps the film since you cannot turn left or right without bumping into a quality British actor. Branagh, Nighy, Wilkinson, Stamp, Izzard, Hollander and so on – they all do solid work and are a boon to the film.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eValkyrie isnu0026#39;t a classic by any means but nor is it the ego-driven Cruise film I expected. Instead it is a solidly entertaining thriller based on fact that manages to engage even though you know the outcome. Cruise doesnu0026#39;t get in the way and the support cast make it stronger by their quality and their number.”


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