Valkyrie (United Artists, PG-13)

valkyrie.jpgIt isn’t action-y enough to please the Tom Cruise-WWII-kill some Nazis crowd, and it isn’t thought provoking enough to please the intellectual crowd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valkyrie had a notoriously checkered production, if only because it stars the now-controversial and villainous Tom Cruise, and because in most/all of the production stills, he’s wearing an eye patch and looking like a doofus. That’s all it takes to kill a film these days, unfortunately. Never mind that it was directed by Bryan Singer, who has arguably never made a bad movie (he’s the guy behind The Usual Suspects, X-Men and X-Men 2), and that it reteams him for the first time since Suspects with its screenwriter, Christopher McQuarrie (and also the guy who wrote Suspects’ score, John Ottman, come to think of it, on board this one both as the composer and as the editor). It also has Black Book’s great (and otherwise almost completely unseen) Carice van Houten as Tom Cruise’s wife, Eddie Izzard in a dramatic role, Terence Stamp, and a ton of other talented people. Why wouldn’t this movie be good?

Now that I’ve seen it, though, I can’t help but think it will be met with an unenthusiastic “meh” from audiences once it is released. It isn’t action-y enough to please the Tom Cruise-WWII-kill some Nazis crowd, and it isn’t thought provoking enough to please the intellectual crowd. That said, it isn’t bad enough to make either side outright dislike it, but since it was fighting an uphill battle in the first place, being not bad is not being good enough.

Valkyrie is based on a true story about the German Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise), who used his high rank from within the Nazis to try to assassinate Hitler. Of course, we all know he didn’t, which fucks up any suspense the film might have otherwise had, but he seems to have given it a good run, anyway. The explanation for why Cruise kept turning up in production photos with that silly eye patch is because von Stauffenberg was injured in the war (though that was not his reason for trying to take Hitler down), which made him lose about the entire right side of his body, arm and eye included.

The film is at least fairly effective in getting you to care about Pirate Tom and his plight, but I’m sure that has to do with the fact that his enemy is the Nazis and Hitler specifically — could there be a nobler cause? But still, the whole thing is just so dry, it’s hard to muster up the motivation to see it if you haven’t yet or to talk about it if you have. But don’t worry, this won’t affect you, because people will be doing neither of those things after its release. | Pete Timmermann

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply