- Paul Dale
- 22 January 2009
Secret Germany and the 20 July 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler get the 24 treatment in Bryan X-Men Singer’s engaging new thriller.
Months before the end of World War II, aristocratic Colonel Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise being intense and low key) became the driving force behind an attempted coup to overthrow the Führer. On 20 July Stauffenberg, then a member of the general staff placed a bomb next to Hitler in his east Prussian headquarters, the Wolf’s Lair. What led up to this event and what happened afterwards is forged into a big cast caper flick.
Like Spielberg, Singer is capable of fusing ancient and modern to giddy effect, so recent German hits Downfall and The Lives of Others are cross pollinated with Anatole Litvak’s eccentric 1967 Nazi occupied Warsaw thriller The Night of the Generals (a TV staple throughout the 1980s. Singer, the New York kid with a Nazi fetish, is likely to have seen it many times). It’s a nutty mix that doesn’t always work (histrionic scenes are problematic) particularly when Singer tries to put things on the clock à la TV’s 24. Subsequently Valkyrie does drag in places but it is never less than perversely winsome.
Tom Wilkinson, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Carice van Houten, Thomas Kretschmann, Terrence Stamp, Kevin McNally and Eddie Izzard round out an excellent European supporting cast.
General release from Fri 23 Jan.