Cruise dominates the screen, but his performance isn’t particularly arresting.  He’s convincing but flat, with very little expression or personality bleeding through.  Some of this is due to the script, which offers little in the way of back story or character exposition.  Why, exactly, does Staffenberg want Hitler dead?  The film paints only broad strokes—a huge omission that would have provided excellent opportunity for Cruise to show some acting chops and for the director to give us a glimpse into the lifestyles of rich and famous Nazis.  This is all the more important given that the overwhelming majority of the film’s scenes take place around a desk.  It’s tedious, to say the least, with nothing more than a few quick shots of Staffenberg’s wife and children to break things up.

Another problem is the accents.  Most of the German officers speak with English accents, but one speaks with a German accent, which is distracting.  Cruise doesn’t even attempt an accent, however, and his American presences throws off the film’s credibility.  In short, he was the wrong actor for the role, which would have been better served by someone older and more versatile.

Valkyrie is mildly entertaining and will provide ample discussion opportunity about the ethics of assassinating evil dictators.  History buffs are the ones most likely to appreciate this best.

DVD EXTRAS:

  • None

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Actors drink and smoke throughout the film, typically in social or war contexts.
  • Language/Profanity:  A few strong profanities.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity:  None.
  • Violence:  Strong wartime violence including shootings, gunfire and executions.