DVD Review Valkyrie
Directed by: Bryan Singer Cast: Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Kenneth Branagh, Terence Stamp Running Time: 2 hrs Rating: PG-13 Due Out: May 27, 2009
Plot: Based on the true story, a proud German military man, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise), is loyal to his country before his allegiance to Adolf Hitler (David Bamper). He along with other German politicians and soldiers look to use Hilter’s own emergency plan–known as Operation Valkyrie–to assassinate Hitler and seize control of Berlin.
Who’s It For? First and foremost, it’s a war movie, with enough well-crafted suspense. There isn’t much violence, only one important woman’s role and it also should be in contention for end of the year awards.
Movie: I have said this too many times … World War II will never run out of stories. There are infinite WWII film possibilities and Valkyrie is one of best. My hunch is the majority of Americans will not know the story of “Operation Valkyrie.” The “what if” scenario is just too cool in this true story. Even though you have a hunch on the outcome, it’s impossible not to get attached to these characters. And there are so many characters to choose from. It seems the first half of the film is filled with moments where you see another amazing actor step on the stage and knock the role out. Nighy, Wilkinson, Branagh, Stamp, Izzard all shine, but this is truly one man’s film. Cruise proves it doesn’t matter what you think of his life, you must take notice of one of the most dynamic actors of our time. Score: 9/10
Commentary by Tom Cruise, Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie: Yes, it seems a little odd to hear Cruise say, "I mean, I hate Hitler," but the commentary is great. Many people have complained about the lack of a German accent for the actors, but Singer and company don't really get into that. Instead Singer let's us know that in the opening scenes with Cruise, he threw in a homage to Pink Floyd's "The Wall." They bring some knowledge as well, saying Hitler hating smoking and was a vegetarian. Film geeks will appreciate Singer's creating of "man-held" cameras ... After the failed bomb blast, Singer had everyone holding a camera or resting them on some soft object so there was always a slight movement on the screen, no tri-pods.
The Journey to Valkyrie: This is 15 minutes of a typical "from story to filming" making of documentary. They express that this story is to show the humanity inside Hitler's Germany. Producer and writer McQuarrie and Singer have known each other since school and worked together in The Usual Suspects. Yes, this is a bit of a love fest, with Singer declaring that each actor is "perfect" in their role, but what else do you expect? And they do touch on the filming on location that caused so many headline in the states.
The Valkyrie Legacy: You want the meat and potatoes of the story of Valkyrie? Well how about some Ken Burns? It's a 42-minute documentary that doesn't talk about the film at all. It's exactly what historians will want to know.
The other extras: Commentary by Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander
Extras Score: 9/10
It's a film that wasn't recognized as one of the best by audiences or the Academy Awards, but hopefully time will be kind to Valkyrie. Not only is this a story that needs to be told, Singer crafts a terrific thriller that should keep audiences glued to the screen. With the addition of the extras, including going the extra mile by including Ken Burn's documentary, it's a great addition to your DVD library.
Final Score: 9/10