Welcome to the movies at PS News.
Each week, PS News’s film critic Victor Rebikoff will highlight the latest offerings from the silver screen and share his expert commentary for our information and guidance.
Director: Bryan Singer, United Artists, Rated M, 121 Minutes
Action film supremo Bryan Singer (director of ‘Superman Returns’ and ‘X-Men’) has brought to life the gripping true story of a group of men involved in Operation Valkyrie - the secret plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler on 20 July 1944.
Heading a well-chosen cast is Tom Cruise, who plays the lead character and mastermind behind the attempted assassination, Colonel Claus Schenk von Staffenberg. Despite some controversy surrounding the portrayal of Staffenberg by Cruise, his actual performance is both absorbing and brilliant, and it is no surprise why Singer chose him for the part- not least because he resembles the real Staffenberg!
In addition, Singer has assembled an acclaimed cast to play Staffenberg’s co-conspirators - including Kenneth Branagh (as Major-General Henning von Tresckow), Bill Nighy (General Friedrich Olbricht), Tom Wilkinson (General Friedrich Fromm), as well as the legendary Terence Stamp (Ludwig Beck).
Singer’s superb direction of a historical drama (especially his teaming up again with academy award winning ‘Usual Suspects’ screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie) has enabled him to deliver a powerful film which is both action-oriented and suspenseful- in particular the events leading to the formation of and execution of the plot.
It is also interesting to note that the only other production that covers the final period of Hitler’s reign is ‘Downfall’, the German film documenting Hitler's final week in the bunker which included the same two actors (namely Thomas Kretschmann and Christian Berkel) - who played key figures in ‘Downfall’ but have supporting roles in ‘Valkyrie’.
‘Valkyrie’ has provided a captivating insight into one of history’s great assassination attempts, together with a great cast, locations and settings, with acute details for that period of WWII. This film is ultimately both enjoyable and entertaining to watch.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 Rubber Stamps