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Valkyrie’ falls apart

Shane Steinburg | Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Forty minutes before “Valkyrie” began, I was wondering when it was going to start. Forty minutes into the movie, I was wondering the same thing.It’s nice to see that the film’s director, Bryan Singer is a nature lover. After all, he cast a cardboard box for the lead role… Oh, wait, never mind, that’s just Tom Cruise doing his best impression of someone with no acting ability. Oscar anyone?However, a one-eyed, patch-wearing Tom Cruise isn’t the star of this spectacle. No, he is forced to share the spotlight with a terribly cast Adolf Hitler armed with a noticeably horrendous German accent. Honestly, Sasha Baron Cohen would have been a more convincing Hitler. Believe me, the first time he opens his mouth, if you haven’t already realized from the first half hour of the film, you will know that you’ve thrown your money away. May I suggest sleeping as an alternative? I know I did, and I will say, not only was it refreshing, but it was the best part of the film – other than the nachos and cheese I was munching on. In the back of my mind though, I vaguely remember this one moment during the film when I was, dare I say, intrigued. Not by the film of course, but by the mystery surrounding the failure of the film’s subject, a failed plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. This ill-documented and historically forgotten attempt to put to a stop to Hitler’s ambitions and end WWII finally received the attention it has deserved ever since it’s unraveling. What was the plot? Why did it fall apart? These questions act like ticks and eats at you, causing you to actually watch the film, or at least its unfulfilling climax.The film follows Colonel Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise), who after being wounded while on duty in North Africa joins up with a group of high-level German military officials (all of whom have English accents no less) who hatch a plot to kill Germany’s Fuhrer. From there the first half of the film is spent working out the assassination plot’s details at a snail-pace until, at about an hour in, suspense actually settles in for a moment but is just as quickly killed because Singer reveals his hand too soon.The film ends with what was probably meant to be a poignant scene during which all the main conspirators are shot to death by firing squad one-by-one, with Tom Cruise dying last. Its falls as flat as it possibly could though, acting more as a call to laugh out loud than a reason to feel at all sad for the one-eyed scientologist and his Queen-loving comrades. I have much respect for the men who actually had the sense to realize that what Hitler was doing was not only wrong for Germany, but also morally wrong, and who so bravely tried to overthrow him. As for all who so dreadfully put together this dry, better- forgotten film, all I can do is ask that if the theater will not give me my money back, will you?

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Shane Steinburg at ssteinb2@nd.edu