Despite the looming presence of two major stumbling blocks, Valkyrie, Bryan Singer’s true-story movie about a plot to kill Hitler at the height of World War Two, makes a surprisingly effective wartime thriller.
The first obstacle in the viewer’s path is the story’s outcome – we know the various attempts to assassinate Hitler all failed. Then again, the brute facts of history don’t appear to have impeded Quentin Tarantino with the plotting of his forthcoming counterfactual WWII epic Inglourious Basterds.
The second hurdle is even bigger – Tom Cruise’s accent. Cruise plays aristocratic German army officer Claus von Stauffenberg, the leader of the conspiracy to kill Hitler and seize control of the Reich in the summer of 1944, and he makes no effort to disguise his authentisch American accent – which immediately puts him at odds with his fellow plotters, who are largely played by British thesps, including Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Terence Stamp and, bizarrely, Eddie Izzard.
Yet watching Cruise’s von Stauffenberg as he comes within a hair’s breadth of blowing up Hitler with a bomb hidden in a briefcase proves remarkably gripping, even if it’s sometimes hard to shake off the impression that the film is Mission: Impossible in jackboots.
Released 7th June.
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