• 54°

Huffman review: In any language, Cruise's 'Valkyrie' is confusing.

Finally! We learn the real reason the Germans lost the Second World War!
It’s because they spoke English but wrote in German!
It had to be a confusing mix for residents of the Deutschland, but not nearly as confusing as “Valkyrie,” the United Artists release that stars Tom Cruise.
In “Valkyrie,” not only do the Germans speak English (in this adaptation, in his radio address to the German people, even Hitler converses in perfect English. Suspending one’s state of disbelief is one thing, but this is asking a bit much), any sign of Nazi atrocities have been wiped virtually clean.
In one scene, Cruise (who plays Col. Claus von Stauffenberg) rants briefly about SS sins, but leads viewers to believe that the rest of the German army was a kindly group save that diabolical madman at the helm.
No mention of the millions lost to the Holocaust. No mention of the neighboring armies slaughtered by the Nazis. No explanation for why it took so long for the German hierarchy to finally get around to figuring a plan to kill Hitler.
“Valkyrie” deals with the July 20, 1944, attempt by German officers to assassinate Hitler. It was a failed attempt, but came close to succeeding.
It’s just hard to find much about “Valkyrie” that makes it a memorable movie.
As war movies go, it’s got a scene early on that’s set in North Africa that’s well done. American Flying Tigers strafe a German convoy, leaving many dead and von Stauffenberg badly wounded.
There’s also an impressive scene where German warbirds land and Hitler disembarks. The planes are magnificent creations and the aerial photography is beautiful.
But those scenes out of the way, “Valkyrie” fizzles.
It’s hard to remember that it’s even a war movie, what with all the endless talk involved.
With the exception of the SS troops, there’s almost no sign of a swastika on any of the German uniforms.
Hitler resembles a tottering businessman in bad need of a drink. Or a bath. Or maybe both.
Cruise is too handsome to portray a soldier mutilated by war. And he spends too much time scowling.
And what’s with the glass eye? Is it in or isn’t it? And is a glass eye really something you want to go around putting in people’s drinks when you want them to meet you for a secret conference in the toilet? Wouldn’t a nod in the direction of the men’s room be more appropriate?
The plot to kill Hitler may have been confusing, but “Valkyrie” sure doesn’t do much of a job explaining it.
Are the German troops on alert or not? Why are they supposed to be on alert? If you were risking your life in an attempt to assassinate the Fuhrer, wouldn’t you first be a bit more convinced everyone involved was fairly committed to the project?
(I realize I may have missed a bit of the explaining of parts of this in my only viewing of “Valkyrie,” and another trip to the theater may ease a tad of my confusion, but I’d prefer having bamboo shoots driven under my fingernails.)
Even World War II buffs will have a hard time making sense of this mess.
“Valkyrie” was directed by Bryan Singer (“Superman Returns”) and there are signs that the movie has been troubled from the get-go.
Tentative release dates varied from this past summer to next February.
Cruise’s co-stars include Kenneth Branagh as Maj. Gen. Henning von Tresckow, Billy Nighy as Gen. Friedrich Olbricht and Kevin McNally as Dr. Carl Friedrich Goerdeler, a German politician who intends to become chancellor following the coup.
They’re all much more believable than Cruise, who seems less than a half-step removed from his pretty boy “Jerry Maguire” character.
(I kept expecting him to give Hitler a hug and cry, “You complete me!”)
“Valkyrie” isn’t hitting on much from the start, and it really nose-dives once the bomb explodes and Hitler survives.
(The audience, of course, is privy to this information while the conspirators aren’t, making the end a tad anti-climactic for all involved.)
War movies are at best difficult to make believable, and “Valkyrie” fails on just about all levels.

Comments

Comments closed.

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Eight new COVID-19 deaths, 203 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds

Local

Salisbury Station one of several ‘hot spots’ included in NCDOT rail safety study

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, school considering options

News

Iredell County votes to move Confederate memorial to cemetery

Nation/World

Lara Trump may have eyes on running for a Senate seat

Local

Rowan among counties in Biden’s disaster declaration from November floods

Local

PETA plans protest at Salisbury Police Department on Friday

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, charter revoked

Coronavirus

29 new positives, no new COVID-19 deaths reported

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with drug crimes

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month