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Valkyrie Review

Published: Tuesday, March 10, 2009, 8:10 [IST]

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Valkyrie Review
Operation Valkyrie was the July 20th, 1944 plan by a group of persons to assassinate Adolf Hitler, the Nazi dictator. At the helm of this plan was Colonel Claus Van Stauffenberg, who was also a trusted high official in Hitler's government. Stauffenberg, though trained as a loyal soldier, did not sympathize with his Fuhrer's ideas and governance, and thus, along with other dissident army officials and thwarted politicos, he formed a secret army that precisely planned the assassination of Hitler inside the Wolfsschanze near Rastenburg and subsequently in Berlin's Bendlerblock.

Both plots failed miserably with Hitler sustaining not even a single severe wound. The failed assassination attempts resulted in the arrest of over 7000 people by the Gestapo, with Stauffenberg bearing the worst of the consequences. Till today, he is revered as a martyr by Germans, and Bryan Singer's Valkyrie tells his story.

Playing the German hero, heading this nearly impossible mission, is Hollywood's super star Tom Cruise. His super stardom supersedes his role in the movie, and that's the common consensus. And in spite of that, he renders an energetic and an enthusiastic performance, just the kind that the movie calls for. But the screenplay sometimes gets too emphatic on the appearance of the secret crusaders and their dim-lit meetings, when it's more important that the screenplay does not fail.

On the downside, the director takes for granted that everyone has in some way or the other knowledge of just how ruthless the Nazi army and how insensitive their leader was. And Stauffenberg and his team have all their accents confused. So at times it becomes quite a Babel, if you don't follow closely. Then there are those many times when the one-eyed historic figure just struggles to shed his Tom Cruise image. Stauffenberg sacrificed his life in the resistance against Hitler, and sometimes Valkyrie comes off as nothing more than the adventures of a dashing young man. You already know how the movie is going to end, because it's a piece of history on celluloid. Bryan Singer, the commander-in-chief, tells the story interestingly most of the time.

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