Watch This: Valkyrie

Since the close of WWII, Germany has had to bear with its image of a nation of just-following-orders Nazis. Schindler’s List told the story of some valorous citizens. Now Valkyrie has done the same with the military, relating the details of a nearly successful conspiracy among a cadre of high ranking officers to assassinate Hitler, overthrow his regime, and end the war. This is an extraordinary film, one in which the suspense builds slowly, always heightened by a sense of foreboding, since we know they will fail. The cast is superb (what a treat to see Terence Stamp again), with the power to convey, mostly nonverbally, the awesome courage required to risk everything for the greater good. Shot in Germany, the visuals capture the cold-blooded essence of Naziism, and the firing squad scenes are particularly effective. Only a few problems stand out. The orchestral score is a fine, unobtrusive one, until the conspiracy begins unravelling, at which point the music grows so tragic that it’s cloying. Also, some rather silly lines, such as the one comparing the conspirators to Sodom and Gomorrah’s righteous men, occasionally jolt. Though imperfect, however, Valkyrie takes a relatively obscure historical event and brings it into the light with the respect it deserves.

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3 thoughts on “Watch This: Valkyrie

  1. CR Fraser says:

    Interestingly enough the “sodom” line is a quote: Prior to committing suicide on the day following the bomb plot, Henning von Tresckow (Branagh’s character) said: “The whole world will vilify us now, but I am still totally convinced that we did the right thing. Hitler is the archenemy not only of Germany but of the world. When, in few hours’ time, I go before God to account for what I have done and left undone, I know I will be able to justify what I did in the struggle against Hitler. God promised Abraham that He would not destroy Sodom if just ten righteous men could be found in the city, and so I hope that for our sake God will not destroy Germany. No one among us can complain about his death, for whoever joined our ranks put on the shirt of Nessus. A man’s moral worth is established only at the point where he is ready to give up his life in defense of his convictions.”

  2. I liked this movie a lot. I wasn’t real thrilled with Tom Cruise playing the lead role but he did a decent job. What did you think of Tom Cruise in this movie?

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