Valkyrie (2008 Hollywood)

Tom Cruise had no idea who Hitler was when he first saw the script. The gay scientologist had never even heard of the Fuhrer. Cruise claimed he used to dream about killing Mr H. Yeah, right. In his dreams. Tyrannicide: it’s not something on the to-do list of your average gay scientologist…Valkyrie’s account of the failed plot to kill Hitler is no more than a thriller that does not thrill. In theory, it is possible to tell a suspense story about a historical event with a known outcome. Although we know de Gaulle was never assassinated, Day of the Jackal pulls its audience along with the intricate details of how the fictional killer almost brings it off, and how the French security services thwart him at the last minute. It works as a howdunnit. But the story of the plot to kill Hitler is a whydunnit, and Valkyrie takes the why for granted. 

Because the Nazis give us the luxury of both hindsight and moral certainty, they make us lazy. We know they are absolutely evil, and we know they are going to lose the war. Nothing new here. So it is easy to take for granted that Stauffenberg and the other conspirators are making the right choice. They know the regime is evil, they know the war is lost, and they want to make a statement and maybe salvage something from the wreck. It’s just what we would think in their place – or so we flatter ourselves. But that reaction is superficial because we are not in their place but in our place, looking back at theirs. What Valkyrie should have done is taken the audience mentally into a world where the Nazis are the established, legitimate government and all good patriots want Germany to win the war, or at least to escape defeat. That takes more than just draping pretty swastika flags over every post office.

It takes the creation through dialogue of a social atmosphere in which Nazism is conventional and right. Without that baseline, the conspirators’ decision to overthrow their own government and embrace defeat is trivial. How have these few men come to think that Hitler is evil and crazy when everyone else still follows him? What led them to choose what everyone around them thinks is wrong? Valkyrie doesn’t tell us. Tom Cruise vaguely looks like pictures of Stauffenberg, but he conveys nothing of the man’s inner life. Without that, Valkyrie has less point than Hogan’s Heroes. Now for the verbal content… I wonder if, in the history of cinema, there has ever been such woeful miscasting. The British contingent are the usual shower – Nighy, Stamp, Branagh and even Eddy Izzard, for Pete’s sake – being so stiff upper lipped it was tough for me to keep a grip on the fact they were meant to be German officers and not British officer trannies in a German stalag. (Kenny Branagh has a face constructed like a pudding – not a military man at all. Who the hell is the casting director?!)

Yet another “Hitler was evil” movie. We all know “Hitler was evil”, we don’t need yet another flick to remind us of that. We’ve all OD’d on Adolf. Tom Cruise should have been buried alive before taking this role, and yet, the one actor no one, and I mean no one takes seriously, they instead decide to cast as a man bent on taking down the Nazi warlord. Was this the little man’s (T Cruise) attempt at gaining favour with the German public after the Krauts branded Scientology a cult? The recreation of Hitler’s Wolf’s Lair and the Berghof is picture-perfect and adds much realism to the film, and the direction from X-Men’s Bryan Singer is reasonable. But that’s not good enough. Where is the heat? Or the light? Boredom is displayed by the cast. Then there’s the zero emotion Cruise emanates, whether he’s kissing a woman or speaking to anyone. I can’t believe he’s really interacting with these people. The film’s biggest problem though is Tom Cruise as the aristocratic Claus Von Stauffenberg. He simply fails to pull it off and comes across as a cheesed off – dare I say it? Little Hitler.  🙂

           (Truthfully, do I look like a complete twat or am I just feeling like one?)

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Comments

  1. I like your take on the film. That’s true. We don’t get inside the mind of the Nazis.

    One thing that bothered me about Valkyrie is these top-tier Hollywood actors (who are paid millions) were too lazy to have a German accent. If you are going to make a movie about Nazis, they shouldn’t have American and English accents.

    Downfall (2004) is the best Hitler movie I have seen.

    Conspiracy (2001) gives the viewer a look inside the mind of the Nazis. But it was so unsettling I couldn’t finish it.

    Tom Cruise says he always wanted to kill Hitler, but he also grew up wanting to be a Catholic priest. If Cruise is gay, I wonder if he will ever come out? http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cruise-valkyrie-korea-idUSTRE50H0KA20090118

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Because so many blog posts get overlooked, sometimes I’ll write an extreme one like this for amusement and go OTT. Cruise may not be gay, but he leads such a charmed life with Hollywood placing him above other actors, that I feel like throwing tomatoes. His wives have to sign confidentiality agreements & I admit there is not the evidence about him that definitely confirms someone like John Travolta. His first wife said Tom wanted to be a monk and lead a celibate life. In his scenes with women he does seem very reserved. Anyway, as you pointed out, Valkyrie has too many non-German accents. English actors in particular seem to enjoy strutting about in Nazi uniforms, but its not realistic… Thanks for the tip about Downfall and Conspiracy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Spot on and hilarious, I love it!

    And to add to the dialogue in the comments, even if some are doubtful as to whether or not he is actually gay, I still enjoy the ‘accusations’ as Tom gets SO amusingly hysterical about it. Look at him suing South Park. If you ask me, “The lady doth protest too much.”

    Liked by 1 person

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