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Valkyrie – Not as interesting as a Norwegian maiden slayer!

Submitted by on January 23, 2009 – 12:06 pmOne Comment

valkyrie1Well it’s 19 hundred and something or other and the Germans are still evil….except for the ones that can speak English. Hitler is busy wearing a dodgy ‘tache and after lots of failed assassination attempts, it has been left to a one handed, 3 fingered semi blind guy to do the (clearly they were lacking in willing participants). It sounds like a comedy doesn’t it?

No this is not a comedy movie! This is Valkyrie; the ever-delayed movie starring Tom Cruise and directed by Bryan Singer. Sadly you are never quite sure of the accuracy of the film as Hollywood has a tendency to take truth, flush it down a toilet, write a new one, destroy that, then ask a passing drunkard to shout random obscenities at them until a semi-coherent screenplay can be drafted. The question remains though: was it worth the wait?


“Based on actual events, a plot to assassinate Hitler is unfurled during the height of WWII” (From IMDB)


The very first thing you notice in Valkyrie is the subtle language change. This informs you that despite all of the actors speaking in a variety of different accents, they are in fact all speaking German. Thank God for that! I was under the impression that all Nazis spoke a bad variation on the Queen’s English! Despite my silliness though, it is an economical way of avoiding a fully subtitled film (which I think would have been more challenging) and despite it being done on many occasions before, I liked it…so there.

A little way into the plot we are introduced to a range of actors including: Billy Nighy, Terence Stamp and Kenneth Branagh. I know that there is someone out there expecting me to say “Eddie Izzard” but I refuse to accept that this individual is permitted to refer to himself as an “actor”. In fact (with the exception of Ocean’s Twelve) I have completely hated every film that Izzard has been in. So seeing him  in this, not only makes my blood boil (I mean: why him?) but also makes me doubt the casting choices of the crew.

Nevertheless despite my protestations, Izzard keeps his mouth shut (yes), Nighy wears silly glasses; making him look like a stereotypical , Branagh is in it for 20 seconds and Stamp merely plays Stamp. I could have a pop at Tom Cruise’s performance but I am so sick of everyone having a go at the man, I thought I’d give him a break. He does his best with a story that requires nothing from him other than a lot of scowling and 3 night-school sessions of German! I do have my problems with the cast though. Why are there no Germans in the main cast? This is insulting! Okay, so I accept that this is the equivalent of belated propaganda, but surely isn’t it pertinent to have someone other than the Limeys or Yanks?

There are moments of genius in the production of Valkyrie though, including a scene involving a record playing. It manages to get your head turning and pay attention to what otherwise would have been a very dull and unimaginative moment.

Overall Valkyrie fails where succeeded. Okay, you are probably wondering why I brought the overly emotion disaster movie into the equation but it does have relevance. Consider this: You have to tell a story where EVERYONE knows the outcome. That makes your job hundreds of times more difficult. You have to make it entertaining enough for you to excuse the let down at the end. For me, Titanic was greatly entertaining throughout and each time I watch it, there is a little part of me that hopes that the ship won’t sink! (Sad, but true). Valkyrie didn’t give me a similar feeling. In fact, about 30 minutes in I had asked myself why I bothered coming to see a film of this calibre when I knew the ending. The fact is, whilst knowing that they were going to fail you didn’t much care about how they were going to fail


Let me just say that I still don’t quite understand why people are moaning about Tom Cruise! The man is an actor. That should say enough! I imagine that every single actor on the planet has their quirky ways. In fact I can’t act for toffee, but I am still completely off the scale of eccentricity. If Cruise wants to carry on about Scientology, then leave him to do so. I carry on about films each day and those of you who don’t want to know about it can just ignore me (or not read this).

Okay, so the above paragraph has nothing to do with the film, but I just thought I’d contribute to the “Is Tom Cruise worth a damn” conversation. Valkyrie is somewhat lacking in the “powerful acting” stakes as it is not challenging enough for Cruise. Despite the story being interesting, it is not solid enough to stop your attention wandering off to why popcorn is fundamentally yellow.

If, as it claims it is historically accurate, then I can understand its purpose. However, Hollywood has lost my trust in telling an honest story many years ago.  If I were to believe them, I’d think that in the future a cute little robot will find a plant in a fridge….I don’t think so!

Rating: 3 out of 5

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