Watching Valkyrie made me think of what it takes for a movie to be great. In order for a movie to be great, it needs many different elements to work. Valkyrie had some elements that worked and others that didn’t, which is why instead of being a great movie, which it had the potential to be, it is a pretty good movie that will eventually be forgotten.
What worked: the political intrigue that ran throughout this film was excellent. It was very interesting to see the behind-the-scenes of the third reich and the goings-on managed to be quite suspenseful as well. And with all of the advertising around Tom Cruise, I wasn’t even aware that this movie had a slew of great actors like Kenneth Brannaugh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkenson and Terence Stamp.
One scene I really liked was where Cruise’s character first meets Hitler. The atmosphere around Hitler and his inner circle has a sort of brooding evil that really works.
What didn’t work: The accents. They didn’t even bother with German accents, which actually ended up being very distracting. If an actor can’t do a proper accent, he shouldn’t be cast in that role, I don’t care if its Tom Cruise or not.
There should have been more of a focus on the family I think. That could have been an element that could really escalate this movie. We needed a reason to believe that the wife would go along with all of this. But they were just kind of pushed off to the side.
There were many moments which tried to be meaningful and emotional at the end that didn’t have the foundation to make it work. Also, the scene where the Wagner music played during the bombing seemed like it really wanted to be a neat, inspired scene but just came off as very contrived.
Also, they needed to keep better perspective at the end and they needed to vilify the Nazis a little bit more. It almost seemed to me that Singer was letting the audience loss focus on why they were going through with this plot. They established it well in the beginning, but it should have been emphasized more at the end as well.
So there is my review. It had a lot of potential to be a really great war film but did not live up to that potential. I give it a 7ish/10.