Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Valkyrie (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
7 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Tom Cruise as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg
Kenneth Branagh as Major-General Henning von Tresckow
Bill Nighy as General Friedrich Olbricht
Tom Wilkinson as General Friedrich Fromm
Carice van Houten as Nina von Stauffenberg
Thomas Kretschmann as Major Otto Ernst Remer
Terence Stamp as Ludwig Beck
Eddie Izzard as General Erich Fellgiebel
Kevin McNally as Dr. Carl Goerdeler
Christian Berkel as Colonel Mertz von Quirnheim
Jamie Parker as Lieutenant Werner von Haeften
David Bamber as Adolf Hitler
Tom Hollander as Colonel Heinz Brandt

Special Features:
- Audio Commentary by Tom Cruise, Director/Producer Bryan Singer and Co-Writer/Producer Christopher McQuarrie
- Audio Commentary by Co-Writer/Producer Christopher McQuarrie and Co-Writer Nathan Alexander
- The Valkyrie Legacy Documentary
- The Journey to Valkyrie Featurette

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Languages
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 120 Minutes

The Movie:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Tom Cruise gives one of the best performances of his career in this action-packed film from the director of 'The Usual Suspects' and 'X-Men.' Based on the incredible true story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise) and his ingenious assassination plot targeting Adolph Hitler, this engrossing thriller reenacts the daring operation to eliminate one of the most evil tyrants the world has ever known. Co-starring Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Terence Stamp and Eddie Izzard, 'Valkyrie' delivers gripping suspense and pulse-pounding excitement from start to finish!"

"Valkyrie" is rated PG-13 for violence and brief strong language.

Mini-Review:
"Valkyrie" is a good film, make no mistake about it. But is does have a couple of big hurdles to overcome. The first is that the audience already knows how it will end. Since most people know Hitler committed suicide, you already know that Stauffenberg and his fellow rebels were unsuccessful. It doesn't take a historical genius to figure out what happened to them next. The other issue is that the film is a tad dry. There's a lot of political maneuvering, plotting, and not a lot of action. This creates a couple of difficulties for "Valkyrie" right off the bat.

But if you can get past those hurdles, "Valkyrie" has a lot to offer. First of all, it's a great historical lesson. It shows that not all Germans were villains in World War II... just a lot of them. It's also a great story about deciding to take a stand against what you know is wrong in the face of overwhelming odds. The movie doesn't exactly show their sacrifice paying off for them, but you get the point.

This film also has a fantastic cast. Tom Cruise does a fine enough job, but the supporting cast really helps him out a lot. Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, and Terence Stamp all have moments to shine. But Eddie Izzard, without his guy-liner and drag, really struck me with how different he was. They all end up perfectly embodying their historical counterparts.

The locations for "Valkyrie" were also impressive. It must have been something to see them fly hundreds of swastika flags in the center of Berlin. But I think the locations help add to the authenticity of the story.

If you enjoy historical dramas, this is a film for you. It's not a cheery, feel good movie, but it's a solid drama with an impressive cast.

The bonus features are rather minimal. I was glad to see Tom Cruise take part in the DVD commentary. It's rare to see stars take part in those. There are also a couple of 'making of' featurettes talking about the challenges of adapting the story for film, the authentic costumes, shooting in Germany, and more. It's an enlightening featurette. I would have liked to have seen more features on the actual events and the real Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, but that was left off of this DVD.

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