Fly Valkyrie Fly

Date Tue, January 27 2009

And soar it did. Although I had only managed to catch glimpses of the trailer for Valkyrie, which didn’t pique my attention at all, I was pleasantly surprised by how good this movie was. I tihnk it’s a fair assessment to say while the trailer did outline the plot, the style didn’t match the movie at all. It was more fitting for a James Bond movie and if you were looking for that in Valkyrie, you might be disappointed. On the other hand, if you decided you did not want to see this movie because of the hokey trailer, I would definitely give it a shot.

Valkyrie is about, as I’m sure most people realize by now, an attempt by officers in the German military during the Holocaust who attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Valkyrie is based on a true story of the 15th and final recorded attempt on Hitler’s life. Because of its basis in history, we can easily make a few assumptions. They fail. Their efforts would not be heralded by Hitler and other Nazis.

Although this is a movie concerning mostly members of the military during war times, it is not necessarily a war movie. It’s not a documentary and there is not a whole lot of shoot ’em up action. I would say it’s of a higher intellect than most war movies; it really makes you think and it’s also more suspenseful.

Furthermore, this is also a movie about World War II but it is not necessarily a movie about the genocide of Jewish and other peoples. It shows another side of the war and another side of the Germans, that of people who only wish to do what is best for their country.

From my understanding, the movie followed actual events pretty closely. Colonel Stauffenberg, played by Tom Cruise, is injured in the line of duty and makes his way from the front lines to Berlin. He joins a group of politicians and military men who plan to kill Hitler and suggests a way to use Hitler’s own operation Valkyrie, which is meant to protect the dictator, to actually dispose of the leader and take control of Berlin. The Colonel and others risk their own lives as well as those of their family (Stauffenberg sends his away and warns his pregnant wife of the danger she will be in should he fail) to do what they feel is the best thing for their nation, their continent and their world.

Bold Stauffenberg not only succeeds in having Hitler approve his new operation Valkyrie but puts it into effect. And it almost works. Stauffenberg and his conspirators come ridiculously close to seizing power, even after missing their target. They come so ridiculously close to changing the course of history, that I wished for the movie to end differently despite the fact that I knew it couldn’t.

It really was a good plan. It really almost worked. The failure of the plot came down to some bad luck and only a handful of people who, had they acted otherwise, would have aided the Colonel and his men in seizing power. It really made me consider the real events. What if the scheme would have succeeded save for one or two individuals? It just goes to show how close Col. Stauffenberg came. As the movie wraps up, the military moves in on Hitler’s second in command, according to Operation Valkyrie. His actions show that he expects to be overtaken, that this coup has succeeded. It does not but that such a high ranking official in the Nazi army fears so, really shows the determination of such men.

While the plot to kill Hitler ultimately failed, the plot of this movie did not. It was suspenseful and emotionally pulling. As the movies comes to close and Stauffenberg and others are put in front of a firing squad, both Ryan and I felt a sense of grave depression. Even after leaving the theatre, I could not shake the feeling or the tears. This is a movie which really pulls at one’s heart strings.

The acting is superb and it’s good to see Tom Cruise as something other than crazy. His acting abilities suited this movie well and it’s certainly different from a lot of the action he usually does. In fact, Tom Cruise was strangely good looking again, eye patch and all. The supporting cast was also very good but I did not recognize any of the actors. I don’t think this movie had a lot of big names besides Tom Cruise but the acting was still top notch.

I’m not sure how long Valkyrie will be in the theatres but it’s definitely worth the ticket price and I’d also recommend you pick up a copy of the movie when it is released on DVD.

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