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Movie Review: Valkyrie

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Hi, I'm Tom Cruise and I'm playing a Nazi. A good Nazi! | Photo courtesy of United Artists

The one question most people will ask about Valkyrie--fairly or unfairly--is, "Does Tom Cruise ruin this movie?" The answer--as fairly as I can state it--is that he doesn't ruin it, but he also doesn't particularly add anything significant to it which is a shame because Valkyrie should have been a good picture. The source material is rich indeed; the performances are mostly strong and the visual control of director Bryan Singer is absolutely top-notch. However, given the dominating presence of Cruise's character within the narrative, the best thing that can be said about Valkyrie is that it's probably better than you expect it to be.

For those unfamiliar with the details of the story, it concerns what was probably the most successful attempt on the life of Adolf Hitler by the German Resistance (many his own confederates within the Nazi Party). The putative assassin was one Claus von Stauffenberg who--were it not for a few last-minute changes of venue--may have been able to fulfill the grand ambitions of the Resistance plot and kill the Fuhrer. Of course, as we all know now, he obviously failed. Valkyrie follows Stauffenberg from the deserts of North Africa where he is grievously wounded to his ultimate, unceremonious execution at the hands of the SS in Berlin.