A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in Los Angeles. He must find a way to save both himself and one last victim.
In Nazi Germany during World War II, as the tide turned in favor of The Allies, a cadre of senior German officers and politicians desperately plot to topple the Nazi regime before the nation is crushed in a near-inevitable defeat. To this end, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, an Army officer convinced he must save Germany from Hitler, is recruited to mastermind a real plan. To do so, he arranges for the internal emergency measure, Operation: Valkyrie, to be changed to enable his fellows to seize control of Berlin after the assassination of the Fuhrer. However, even as the plan is put into action, a combination of bad luck and human failings conspire on their own to create a tragedy that would prolong the greater one gripping Europe. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The film was originally scheduled for release on August 8, 2008, then moved up to June 27, 2008. The producer couldn't find a suitable location for the battle sequence in which Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg loses his eye and hand, halting production and moving release to October 3, 2008. Filming resumed in June 2008, and release was moved to February 13, 2009. After a successful test screening, release was finally moved to December 25, 2008. See more »
(at around 41 minutes) In one shot, when Stauffenberg is showing Hitler the updated Valkyrie plan, he looks down with both eyes. His left eye is glass, but prosthetic eyes are fitted against the muscles, so they can move. See more »
soldiers in unison:
I swear by God this sacred oath: That I shall render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer of the German Reich and people, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and that I shall at all times be ready, as a brave soldier, to give my life for this oath.
See more »
It was curious timing to release this film on Christmas Day. As David Letterman quipped on last night's monologue: "Nothing says Holidays like a good Nazi death plot".
Release timing not withstanding, this is a very powerful movie and by all accounts comports with the historical record. There was little embellishment for dramatic effect here. Hitler murder conspiracy dramas are abundant in Hollywood, but this one actually happened and was nearly successful. The story is riveting, and even though the outcome was already known (at least to anyone who had a rudimentary knowledge of WWII), the excitement level was sustained by not really knowing the precise timing of events or, more importantly, who would be spared in the end.
Tom Cruise was very good in the lead role as the chief conspirator (Col. von Stauffenberg). The rest of the cast was first rate, including Tom Wilkinson as Gen'l Fromm, a Nazi head honcho who was playing both sides of the fence, and many other notable actors, such as Kenneth Branagh and Terence Stamp, all excellent.
For fans of "Downfall", the German film documenting Hitler's final week in the bunker (one of the all time great WWII films and #75 on the IMDb top 250), there were two actors from that movie playing in this one. Thomas Kretschmann and Christian Berkel both were key figures in "Downfall" had supporting roles in this film.
For people with an interest in WWII or history in general, this is one film worth checking out.
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