December 27th, 2008

Saw Valkyrie with Tom Cruise tonight as the better half and I decided we needed a date. I liked the history being portrayed, but was skeptical that Cruise could pull off a decent German officer, particularly since he didn’t even attempt an accent. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it didn’t bother me at all, probably because in the beginning of the movie we see Cruise as Col. von Stauffenberg writing in his journal with his voice over in German and subtitled in English then segueing quickly into him speaking English. From that point forward it didn’t bother me at all.

The movie flowed quite well and there just weren’t any boring parts- I hate historical dramas that require you to sit through long scenes of fluff to establish their bona fides. Of course they took liberties with the facts (though not nearly as many as I feared they might), and of course we know from the start that the conspirators are doomed, but it did not matter. It was engrossing and entertaining and that is what I want out of a movie, after all.

I know there are some who are having a hard time with the recent spate of movies portraying Germans in Hitler’s Germany in a sympathetic light, and the movie laid it on a bit thick when some of the conspirators expressed a strong sentiment to avoid ‘destroying Europe just to wait for Hitler to die’, but it is the absolute truth that while the German professional military was more than happy to be invading Europe willy-nilly, many had very strong misgivings about the NAZI party in general and Hitler in particular. Trying to pretend that was not the case just to preserve the black and white nature of the Second World War serves no good purpose.

Take the movie for what it is: a dramatization of a very real event, involving very real people who laid it all on the line to stop a monster and try to save their nation. It was worth the few bucks to go see it and I left feeling happy I’d seen it. Enough said.