Reviews written by registered user
das417

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106 reviews in total 
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Avatar (2009)
7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A spiritual experience that is more than a movie, 18 December 2009
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Avatar is a rare movie. Not only is it a stunning example of CGI, excellent writing, and acting that truly brings characters alive, Avatar is a movie that has a story worth telling. Today we are surrounding with movies, especially science fiction, of repeated stories of alien invasions, war, battles, etc., Rare is the movie that has all of these but actually has a story with telling within the CGI and visuals. Avatar is that movie.

The year is 2154 and humanity has begun colonizing other worlds. Pandora is a world rich with resources and former marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is chosen to replace his brother on a mission that would hopefully change humanity's role on the world. Crippled though not defeated in spirit, Jake is willing to do anything that could get him back the ability to use his legs and the Avatar program may be just that and perhaps something more.

His arrival to Pandora opens up a world that is beyond imagination. Working with Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), who makes her disdain towards Jake openly, Jake is thrown into the Avatar program where he mentally takes the form of one of the Na'vi who are the native people of Pandora. At first seeing his mission as a marine would, Jake has no problem gathering intelligence for Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) who leads the military contractor wing that provides security for the mining operations on Pandora.

Jake realizes that there is something more to Pandora and the Na'vi once he befriends Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). He becomes accepted by her tribe slowly once he begins a series of rituals that teach him not only how to understand the Na'vi, but to become one. Jake one day realizes that he is torn between his loyalty to his own race and marine identity and his new found people, and love, for Pandora. The battle that comes is one that will not only decide if Pandora will survive, but also if Jake will remain the man he once was. Pandora, a world of beauty and innocence, is facing its greatest challenge and Jake becomes the only man, and Na'vi, able to save it.

There is a spiritual theme that runs through Pandora. The idea of environmentalism and new age thought runs through the Avatar but not in a way that is forced or condescending. Unlike other movies that preach a message, Avatar lets the idea of defending what is pure run freely and it is this that makes James Cameron's writing one of the best this year. No matter your religious beliefs, there is a spiritual message that is in Avatar and one can compare the corruption that humanity brings to Pandora much as sin did to the Garden of Eden. There are those who will not like this but that is okay. Even if you don't enjoy the ideology behind Avatar, the movie is still one of the best this year. James Cameron deserves best credit for what is one of the most original movies ever made.

10/10

2012 (2009/I)
1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Melodramatic movie that is everything it promised to be, 13 November 2009
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The end of the world is upon us again and this time humanity's greatest enemy happens to be the sun, the earth's crust, and some tsunami waves that have the power to destroy entire countries. 2012 is the latest mega disaster movie using the best special effects centered upon a melodramatic plot that is everything one expected it to be. While this isn't necessarily bad, it doesn't make a great movie.

Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) is another dad struggling to come close to his kids Noah (Liam James), and Lily (Morgan Lily), even though they now live with their mother Kate (Amanda Peet) and her new doctor boyfriend Gordon (Thomas McCarthy). The relationship between Jackson and his estranged family is what one would expect between a father trying to do the right thing and a mother hoping that her ex will at least remember to pick them up when he's supposed to. Jackson himself is a struggling writer whose lack of fame and books sold has only further weakened his already low self esteem.

As if Jackson's problems weren't enough, it turns out that humanity is facing its final days. Dr. Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Washington politician Carl Anheuser (Oliver Platt) discover that the world is going to be destroyed through a series of solar flares and massive weakening of the earth's crust. Helmsley, ever the humanist, sees a chance to try to help everyone while Anheuser sees only the possible diplomatic problems and financial problems that trying to save humanity would bring. They are two sides of the same coin facing a problem that threatens the whole world. The solution, it is hoped, is the construction of a series of massive ships that will contain the best (that is the rich enough to afford a seat) of humanity and remaining animal life. 2012 never explains how such a low number of survivors, especially those who are rich and spoiled, could save humanity, but it works at least for this kind of plot.

2012 follows a predictable plot with scenes of cities being destroyed, floods wiping out entire continents, and massive amounts of CGI death. While impressive on a big screen, the plot itself wears thin half way through. Of course we know that Jackson will reunite with his family and that there will be a spectacular ending that of course will defy all logic. The amount of scientific nonsense during the first half of the movie was enough to make one think that 2012 really should have been a cartoon. The fact that Roland Emmerich and Harald Kloser both decided to focus on father trying to redeem himself to his family during the end of the world is less than original. Focusing on the struggles of Dr. Helmsley at least would have given some more intellectual and moral depth to the plot.

Not a bad movie, but 2012 isn't more than one would expect it to be. In reality, the only reason to watch it is because of the CGI and not because of some deep scientific or moral idea. A disaster movie yes, but nothing really more.

7/10

9 (2009/I)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A less than impressive story despite some good CGI, 12 September 2009
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

9 is the story of a world destroyed by war. A less than original idea, but the twist is that this time the heroes in this dark world are not human survivors but a series of puppet like creations. It is these creations who hold the key to the survival of the world. 9 will be known for its CGI effects but the story itself should have been the focus of the movie.

9 (Elijah Wood) awakes in a world where death is everywhere. Unsure of where he is, or what he is, he wanders out into a land filled with ruins and the remains of humanity. He is discovered by 2 (Martin Landau) who is just like him except that he has a different number and personality. 9 is grateful to make a friend but 2 is soon taken away by a strange beast that is half skeleton and have machine. It is then that 9 realizes that the world he is in is a place of terror.

Discovering a group of other survivors who are also like him, 9 learns that the leader of this group, 1 (Christopher Plummer), refuses to fight or do anything else besides hide. 9 refuses to do nothing and instead, with the help of 5 (John C. Reilly), tries to rescue 2. With the help of 7 (Jennifer Connelly) 9 and 5 discover the location of 2 and the nature of the beast that holds him. However, in doing so, they awaken the very machine responsible for the end of humanity. 9 and the rest of the survivors then must defeat the very monster that their own creator was responsible for unleashing upon the world.

9 will be remembered for its CGI but little more. The plot is lacking of a real explanation for what has happened and that effects the rest of the movie. There is no real reason given for why 9 and the others had to be created in order to defeat the machine itself. More explanation would have helped the final scene where apparently life is created once more through the spirit of the machines and its inventor. 9 felt at times lacking in detail while spending too much time focused on the effects. The darkness of the world was impressive, but it felt as if director Shane Acker and Pamela Pettler built the story around the world instead of the other way around.

The CGI is worth watching but don't expect more. 9 will stand out but not long enough to be worth remembering.

7/10

Whiteout (2009)
9 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
A less than memorable movie, 11 September 2009
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Whiteout is a basic crime movie which has been done countless times. A lone officer, or in this case a US Marshall, has to solve a mystery that may involve those closest to him or her. The difference is that this time the setting is one of the most dangerous places in the world and not a major American city. Unfortunately, it isn't enough to make Whiteout special.

Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) is a US Marshall suffering from the fatal shooting of her partner which she caused. Running to Antarctica to hide from herself and the shock of his death, she has spent two years in the cold and darkness dealing with drunken scientists. Her life is a series of mindless patrols and reports which, beyond the single station, mean little to anyone. Thankfully, she has been able to befriend Dr. John Furry (Tom Skerritt) who is another refugee from the real world.

On her last night in Antarctica a body is discovered. Investigating the death, Carrie discovers that three US scientists discovered a crashed Soviet transport that carried within it a secret that someone is willing to kill over. UN investigation officer Robert Pryce (Gabriel Macht) believes that it is weapon material that could be sold to terrorists. Carrie isn't sure if she can trust him but realizes that she needs his help not only to solve the case but to stay alive.

What happens next is a series of clichés that are common in most mystery movies. Carrie discovers who the murders are and what the secret of the transport actually was. She then learns that the man she least expected (of course) was the one responsible for the crimes and the deaths around her. Instead of leading to a climax that stands out, Whiteout ends on a less than interesting note which makes one wonder why he or she stayed so long to watch it. The idea of using Antarctica as a scene for such a crime is interesting but it can't carry the whole movie. Director Dominic Sena appears to believe that his use of scenery and man vs. nature conflict would do just that.

Why did Kate Beckinsale do this movie? It is easy to see why this wasn't a summer release simply because it really isn't that special. Not the worse movie this year, but a disappointment.

5/10

District 9 (2009)
6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Moving and powerful, District 9 is the best movie of the year, 15 August 2009
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Aliens are not new to movies. We have seen them countless time either invading, killing, or enslaving humanity. That there is still room for an original story about an alien "invasion" shows that creative thought still exists within the movie world. District 9 is a reminder that even the most ordinary of sounding plots can still deliver. One will not see a major star or large budget. Peter Jackson is the only real known name with District 9 but even his presence is forgotten as the plot moves forward. The best movies of the year, District 9 is easily the standout movie of the summer.

South Africa becomes host to almost one million alien survivors of a ship that suddenly appears in the skies above Johannesburg. The United Nations and South Africa hand control over the aliens directly to a corporation known as MNU which, along with caring for the aliens, is also interested in their weaponry. It is discovered that that alien technology can only work with their DNA so humans are unable to use them. Placed into District 9, a slum that separates the aliens from the human population which fears them, the aliens are subjected to a life not too different from those who also suffer such poverty.

Wikus Van De Merwe(Sharlto Copley) is an uninteresting cubicle worker for MNU who is also the son-in-law of one of the major corporate owners of the company. When he is promoted to lead an eviction of the aliens from from District 9 where they were placed, he sees a chance at having a better future and a real career. The Prawns, as the aliens are known, earn no sympathy from him. Humans see them mostly as a problem that sucks away resource and breed crime. Wikus has the same mentality and has little ethical concerns about cheating the Prawns out of what little they already own.

That changes the day he arrives to serve the evictions. Suddenly sprayed by an strange alien chemical, Wikus finds himself transforming into one of the Prawns. Not only this is distributing to one who was as bigoted as himself, but it also drives MNU to hold him captive. His arm, which was the first to transform, is able to use the Prawn weaponry which makes him suddenly the most valuable man in the world. If MNU can discover how to transfer this biotechnology into humans then that will make them one of the most powerful corporations in the world.

Wikus, escaping and finding a place of hiding within District 9 itself, discover the chemical he found was the necessary fuel for Prawn shuttle which has remained hidden for years. Realizing how oppressive he had once been, Wikus joins with the Prawn who developed the fuel in not only an assault on MNU's headquarters but also a final stand in District 9 itself. It is the final scenes that make District 9 the most powerful because we see one of the most touching conversions seen in a story. From seeing the Prawns as simple creatures that can be ignored, Wikus sees their oppression as a cause worth fighting for even if it means losing his own life.

If there is a small complaint then it is that we never really learn more about the Prawns and why they were made so sick in the first place. Then there is the matter of leaving aliens in the hands of a private corporation. Would the United Nations leave such a duty to a group of businessmen? It seems unlikely, but this does not subtract from the movie too much.

District 9 is easily a commentary on the affairs of humans. That the Prawns would land in a country such as South Africa is evidence that the writers were attempting to say something about society as a whole. The barbarity of MNU and humans against those who are different compares to human prejudice against other humans. South Africa, once more, has experienced this throughout its history of being a colony and since independence. One cannot but feel a sense of the injustice delivered to the Prawns without thinking back up the injustices that humans continue to deliver to each other.

The question District 9 asks is how would aliens change humanity. Would humans be better or worse? Unlike other invasion movies, District 9 shows that human reaction may be one that is not so different in terms of dealing with those who are not the same. Prejudice, that human emotion so common in all nations, may still be very well alive when it comes to those from a different world. That, it seems, is the real tragedy of District 9.

10/10

Orphan (2009)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Serious script questions aside, The Orphan is a good movie, 1 August 2009
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Orphan is a movie that uses an old theme. A scary kid who no one believes is evil is in fact the greatest threat to everyone around her. The idea has been used countless times and isn't too original. However, unlike those other movies, this one does stand out for the right reasons. A surprise hit of the summer, The Orphan is worth watching.

John Coleman (Peter Sarsgaard) and his wife Kate (Vera Farmiga) are upscale residents who discover that their life is missing something. The miscarriage that Kate suffered earlier has left a hole that needs to be filled despite the fact they already have two children and wealth. Ignoring their own marriage problems that circle around Kate's alcoholism and John's past affairs, the two still want to continue the marriage. Deciding that a new child would replace the one they lost, and perhaps bring them closer together, they decide to adopt.

Never explaining why they choose an older child to adopt, John and Cole reach out to a Sister Abigail (CCH Pounder) whose orphanage is home to older girls. There, they meet Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) who appears to be a polite and intelligent child. Not only does she paint she can tell stories, sing, and more importantly, act as a young girl who desperately needs a home. If there was ever a stereotype orphan, Esther is it and John and Kate can't help but want her in their lives. She is everything that a parent would want and they quickly accept her into their family.

Esther soon reveals a darker side though to her new brother Daniel (Jimmy Bennett) and hearing impaired sister Max (Aryana Engineer). Games take a dark turn and Esther shows a vicious side after killing a wounded bird. She then reveals an even darker nature after she forces Max to help her murder Sister Abigail after she attempted to check up on her. From there Esther descends further into the realms of madness and Daniel and Max both find themselves held hostage in their own home.

Kate herself begins to notice that something is wrong. Instead of being the innocent girl they adopted, Esther becomes distant, cold, and eventually hostile. Kate is then convinced that Esther is hiding something despite John's refusal to accept such an idea. The family is slowly torn apart as Esther attempts to destroy everyone in her new family which leaves only Kate willing to stand up to her. The act of desecrating the flowers that honored Kate's lost child shows Esther's willingness to challenge her new mother. John's refusal to accept Kate's belief, however, only alienates her from her him. Kate is eventually forced into rehab after striking Esther after she accuses her of trying to murder Daniel. She finds that she soon has to face Esther if her family is to survive. When it is too late Kate, Daniel, and Max survive but at a cost that should never have been paid in the first place.

The Orphan is a movie that excels in the use of suspense and plot development. However, the use of over exposed ideas such as "scary" music and sound effects, at times limit the effect of the horror. The serious problems exist around the plot holes that eventually develop. It seems hard to believe that a Esther, who was in fact a dwarf who spent time in a mental institute and was 33 years old, could pass herself off forever as a child. And why wouldn't John and Kate spent more time looking into her past? The adoption process itself seems unrealistic as if one could simply pick up a child in a matter of weeks without really understanding who the child is. And if Esther did belong to a mental institute, how could it be that she was so easily adopted first in her own country and then across the world?

Ignoring the plot holes, The Orphan is still a movie that draws you in. Isabelle Fuhrman is an actress we will watch in the future. Her portrayal of a murderous adult whose delusions lead to the deaths of those around her stands out in a character who will be remembered.

7/10

3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Not the story of a car, but of two unlikely friends on the same road, 10 June 2009
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Gran Tarino is the story not of a car but of a man who discovers that there is a meaning to his life. The problem isn't that his life is difficult. The problem is that he sees no reason to enjoy life. A dead wife, distant kids, and a neighborhood falling apart around him, give him the idea that there isn't much to live for. It will be two unlikely friends who will change his mind.

Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) is bitter. Alone and single, living in the house he has called home for years, he can only sit and watch as the world around him descends into what he sees as madness. Immigrant families moving in around him, gangs running around his neighborhood, and his own sickness, leave him little to hope for. Every neighborhood has that one old man who is angry and Walt is very much the local angry recluse who would rather use racial slurs than smile and say hello. Walt also has little problem sharing his feelings about Father Janovich (Christopher Carley), the priest his wife confided in before her death. Not only does Walt seems to hate Asian ethnic groups, he hates religion and devout priests.

Next door a Hmong immigrant family has moved in. Shy and timid Thao (Bee Vang), and his bold sister Sue (Ahney Her), live with their widowed mother and attempt to fit into both Hmong and American culture. The problem is that when a local Hmong gang attempts to "recruit" Thao, they find themselves on the defense. It is then that their paths will cross with their racist neighbor who will become a kind of father figure and hero not only to them and their family but also the local Hmong community.

Gran Tarino is a story about redemption. Not only for Walt, whose bitterness begins to fade as he slowly befriends first Sue and then Thao, but also for Thao himself who finds himself forced to redeem his honor after his attempt to steal Walt's Gran Tarino. The two are opposite in almost every way but they will learn from each other important truths that both needed to discover. Walt, insensitive to cultures different from his own, will discover that he enjoys spending time with immigrants he once despised. Thao will learn from Walt courage and the strength to stand up to those around him. Walt will also learn that his past experiences in the Korean War, experiences that have haunted him to this day, no longer have to be the burden they always have been.

Some have complained about the acting by the Hmong actors and actresses used. However, there was a sense of cultural realness in the use of Bee Vang, Ahney Her, and the other Hmongs. The use of these new actors and actresses along with the experience of Clint Eastwood was a contrast that worked well for Gran Tarino. Walt's character seemed more real in dealing with kids and not professional actors. The dialogue was more valid and seemed realistic in terms of the cultural and age differences.

There is some plot weakness that holds back Gran Tarino from being a notable classic. The conflict with the gang feels tacked on at times and distracts from the character development of Walt and Thao. Clint Eastwood's direction is notable, but the writing itself is weak in terms of trying to create a more vivid conflict. A more powerful conflict would have been Walt dealing with his own cancer and his struggling relationship with his two sons. Walt's death is a Christ like moment where he is the savior for Thao and Sue but also the one being saved himself. A touching ending, but one that felt forced.

One of the best films to showcase Clint Eastwood's talent as an actor and director, Gran Tarino is worth watching and good ending to a career that has lasted over three decades. Not a perfect movie, but one that will be remembered as one of Clint's most humane stories.

8/10

Passengers (2008)
A touching story about what real life is, 30 May 2009
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Passengers isn't going to be well received by most people. The issue is that one is easily mislead by the theme of the movie which appears to be that of a thriller or mystery. The problem is that it is neither and that alone will disappoint most who watch it. However, for those who do stay for the entire story, they will be treated to a rather touching story about fate.

Claire Summers (Anne Hathaway) is determined therapist who takes her studies and her practice seriously. Unmarried, single, and living for nothing else but her education, she is closed off from most of those around her and that includes a distant sister. Perry (Andre Braugher), a close friend, suggests that she work with a group of survivors from a crashed airline in order to gain more experience and to escape her "comfort zone".

Eric (Patrick Wilson) is one of the survivors and the one who Claire finds herself most drawn to due to his rather euphoric feelings about his survival. Claire believes that he is simply trying to live off a high but she ends up finding him seductive in his new view on life. Breaking the doctor patient ethical line, Claire becomes involved with him only to regret what she feels is a weakness on her part.

Passengers is a story not so much about the survivors but the reason why they "survived" at all. However, it doesn't take one long to figure that none of the survived and that they are waiting to cross over to the afterlife. Not only does this include Eric, an airline employee named Arkin (David Morse), but also Perry and yes Claire herself who was sitting next to Eric on the flight. They were all waiting for the moment when they would be able to accept their death and move to the afterlife.

The main weakness in Passengers is that the attempt to build a sense of mystery fails and seems distracting. It is obvious that Claire and Eric's relationship is the center of the story, but trying to use Arkin as a possible stalker for Claire and the other survivors doesn't work. Passengers seems shallow at times even though the conclusion is well thought out despite its weakness.

The question that Eric poses to Claire in so many ways is one that is asked to all of us. What do we value most? Why do we live the way we do? A movie that makes you think about how one would accept their own death, Passengers is movie worth watching even if it is fails to live up to an idea of suspense.

7/10

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Less than successful sequel that disappoints those who wanted more, 23 May 2009
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Terminator Salvation is very much a summer movie. Special effects, loud explosions, and over dramatic acting, ensure that Terminator Salvation is very much a movie that falls in line with other major summer releases. If you wanted a movie with good effects then this is the movie for you. If you wanted something more, well, then you will be disappointed.

John Conner (Christian Bale) is a member of the resistance. Humanity has been brought almost to extinction after the nuclear war launched by the computer Skynet and the later use of terminators and automated hunter killer aircraft. Along with his wife Kate Conner (Bryce Dallas Howard) the two struggle to not only stay alive but also to keep hope. John finds himself using old recordings his mother made during the 1980's and 1990's in order to keep his faith. Now that he is fighting the war he was always told to expect, he is finding himself tested in ways he never thought possible.

Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) was a death row convict in the year 2003. Before his execution, Doctor Serena Kogan (Helena Bonham Carter) arranged an organ donation so that he could perhaps have a second chance. However, as he feels the needle going into his arm, Marcus awakens and finds himself in a nightmarish world where robots hunt humans and where Los Angeles is in ruin. He meets a teen by the name of Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) and a pilot named Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood) who teach him how to survive this new world. Marcus then learns that he is not the human he once was and that he could be the greatest threat not only to Blair and Kyle but the human resistance as a whole.

The Terminator storyline is one that is well known so fans of the series can expect to see the future which the last three movies only hinted at. The world is desolate and death is everywhere. Director McG was able to give the impression of a world perhaps a little less evolved then that of Mad Max. We see how the resistance is controlled and how it deploys itself against Skynet not only in America but also around the world. Skynet itself is finally revealed in its true evil after Marcus, who we discover is a advanced cyborg which uses the organs he donated, confronts it.

The problem is that McG is unable to give the feeling of darkness and despair that the last three Terminator movies gave when it came to covering the future. Instead of massive ruins where skulls are crushed as if they were grains of sand, and large battles where small groups of humans find themselves overwhelmed by terminators, McG's future is one of hide and seek. The writing is good and the story flowed with no problems. The issue, however, is that it all feels superficial. This isn't helped by the use of explosions and special instead of dialog to keep the plot moving. McG's images of a San Francisco turned into a major Skynet facility and terminator production site is the best example of what the Terminator future should look like. It is a disappointing that he wasn't able to use more settings such as it to give a feeling as to what a world run by Skynet would appear.

Terminator Salvation is not a bad movie. The problem is that it felt rushed and the decision to use Marcus Wright as a cyborg locater feels hollow as does his sacrifice to save John Conner's life. There was the potential to go deeper into the human/robot question in terms of where does one begin and the other end by introducing the possible romance between Marcus and Blair. However, it is never really explored and thus it seemed almost unnecessary to have Marcus and Blair form the relationship they did.

The question is whether or not the next story will be able to surpass the disappointments within Terminator Salvation. There is reason to hope but the fans should demand something better.

7/10

Valkyrie (2008)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
An historical drama that demands suspense but is unable to deliver, 20 May 2009
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Valkyrie is the story of the planned assassination of Adolf Hitler. Based on true events, as the movie reminds us, it the story of a missed chances, divided loyalties, devotion, and sacrifice. Unfortunately, Valkyrie the movie has trouble keeping up with the idea that these were men moved by desperate times to do desperate things in order to make sure their country survived. Part of the problem is that director Bryan Singer is unable to convince the audience to forget the historical ending of the coup leaders before the movie ends and thus Valkyrie is limited as soon as it begins.

Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) is a man who finds himself facing a war not only against the Allies, but also the Furher who he believes will destroy Germany. Every scene implies the sense of dedication Stauffenberg has to his country but also the tension he feels towards Adolf Hitler (David Bamber) and the officers responsible for Germany's defeats. After being wounded in North Africa, losing a hand, eye, and fingers from his one remaining hand, Stauffenberg carries a lasting memory and bitterness as to what Hitler has done not only to Germany but also to him as well as his family. A reunion with his wife Nina (Carice van Houten) and his children remind Stauffenberg what is at stake if Germany loses the war, a reality that seems very close to happening as the Allies move closer to Germany on three sides.

Stauffenberg if recruited by Major General Henning von Tresckow (Kenneth Branagh) and General Friedrich Olbricht (Bill Nighy) who are Wermarcht officers determined to replace Hitler. It is then that Stauffenberg soon takes over as the head of the operation to kill Hitler and to defeat the SS through an internal coup using an internal defense operation codenamed Valkyrie. If Hitler can be killed, and his circle of loyal officials and generals dealt with, then the war can be ended on honorable terms before Germany is destroyed.

The problem is how to do this and this is where Valkyrie the movie is unable to deliver. Valkyrie is unable to build suspense in the plans to kill Hitler which is of course the core of what the plot is about. This is a major flaw despite otherwise good acting and excellent writing. We learn of the various ways this could go wrong and the various tensions amidst the coup leaders themselves who had different objectives and reasonings to kill Hitler. None of this, however, can support the plot if it lacks suspense which Valkyrie tries to give. Valkyrie spends most of its time showing the dedication of these men to their mission but is unable to make the audience really care. Tom Cruise gave an excellent performance as Stauffenberg but he couldn't carry Valkyrie through. If more was spent perhaps focusing on his internal reasons for supporting the coup, and the fears he had for his family, then perhaps Valkyrie could have been more then what it was.

A disappointing historical movie, Valkyrie does show that there were men who were willing to challenge Hitler even if it was during the years when Germany's defeat was unavoidable. The tragedy is that these few men were not enough to stop him.

7/10


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