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)
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.
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"Valkyrie" takes on an important event in the history of Nazi Germany: the failed assassination attempt of German officers of the Wehrmacht against Hitler in 1944. Most Germans like myself are quite familiar with the story of the "Stauffenberg-Attentat" since it was not only the topic of many German docudramas (e.g. one made by well-known director Pabst in 1955) but is also widely discussed in history class in school.
I was pleasantly surprised about the "American" interpretation in Valkyrie and think that Singer and Cruise came up with an excellent film. Although the outcome is known and the movie develops rather slowly in the beginning, it manages to create a highly suspenseful and darkish-intense atmosphere that keeps you captivated until the end. Complains regarding the American/English accents and the German actors not speaking with German accents, or criticizing that Stauffenberg was "in reality" more charming and not as stiff as Cruise' interpretation, are niggling and banal at best. The movie does not focus on the private, psychological side of Stauffenberg but on his leading role in the assassination plot planned and executed amidst the "heart of darkness", which -we can be sure- was more than nerve-wracking and left certainly little space for charm and jokes. BTW: I was glad to see Nina von Stauffenberg portrayed as the knowing and smart wife that she actually was. The performance of all actors is superb, and Cruise certainly deserves special praise since his commitment to the role is tangible and remarkably intense.
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