Friday, December 26, 2008

Valkyrie Is a Hit Whether You Think Tom Cruise Is a Flake or Not

Tom Cruise in ValkyrieUsually the Christmas movie lineup gets me all worked up a month or two before it hits but this season the only movie I really wanted to see was Valkyrie--aka "Tom Cruise's new movie."

So maybe I was determined to like it but I can say quite confidently that it's a fabulous movie. If you haven't already heard it's the based-on-a-true-story adaptation of a plot to kill Adolf Hitler attempted by German officers and politicians and lead by Claus von Stauffenburg (Cruise) who are all horrified by what their country has become.

Not only does Cruise give a great performance (along with other acting heavy weights such as Kenneth Branaugh, Terence Stamp and Tom Wilkinson), not only is the music, cinematography and lighting quite right but the story is so moving that when the lights finally went out on the last scene the audience in the theater sat there for a moment in an awed silence to take in those last moments.

The beauty of the film is this: Germany has lived with the stigma of Hitler for sixty years and even I have been guilty of wondering how a group of people could allow that kind of a monster to flourish. Yes I'm aware of the socio-economics of post World War I Europe and the stiff reparations that forced Germany into drastic times but nonetheless I've wondered how so many people could sit by and allow the SS to kill so many of their neighbors.

Valkyrie gives the other side to the story and while it may be romanticized I couldn't help but be caught up in the bravery of so many who sacrificed so much so that the world wouldn't remember their homeland as "Hitler's Germany." That not only were there Germans who didn't support Hitler but actively opposed him and gave up everything to fight his regime. It also shows the power that one person can have--either for good or evil. "You have to make a choice--what is that going to be?" as Cruise says at one point.

There are a couple times in the movie where I thought "Wow the action is really moving along--how will this stretch out into two hours?" but it did and it kept you going. I'd be curious to read up a bit on the real life events to see how much of the story is accurate--especially since I imagine that many of the details of the plot would have been destroyed by the Nazis such that it might be difficult to have all of the facts.

But if you'd like a stirring two hours that makes you completely forget Mr. Cruise's oddities on Oprah this would be a good place to start. Definitely an A movie.

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Technorati tags: movies, Tom Cruise

20 comments:

Chrissy Johnson said...

I love making fun of Tom Cruise but not as much as I used to really love him as an actor. It's good to hear that his work is enjoyable again. And not at all "glib".

Peruby said...

I'm sold. I find that I like Cruises' acting more in recent years. I couldn't stand him in the 80's and early 90's.

Melissa said...

Glad to hear your take on the movie. I was interested in it, but wasn't sure if O could get past all of the "hoopla" that surrounds Cruise himself. I am more interested in seeing it now. Thanks again!

Barrie said...

I've been wondering about this movie. Thanks for the review!

CountessLaurie said...

Sometimes it's hard to get past their not-so-private lives. It's good to hear your take on this one. Thanks for sharing.

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

Thank you for the review. It was the only one to grab me this season too.

Carinne said...

That's interesting. I read a review on yahoo that just demolished Cruise. They kept saying how they wanted to like the movie and the other actors were great and the directing and writing were fine, but Cruise destroyed the movie. They couldn't saying anything nice about him and his performance - called him laughable. Talked about how he didn't even attempt an accent and he didn't stir any dramatic feelings etc. I usually take reviews with a grain of salt, but after such a horrible one I was thinking I'd skip it. Nice to hear someone who liked it. Maybe I'll catch it after all.

Kathryn said...

Thanks for the great review. Now I definately want to go see it.

Hairline Fracture said...

I didn't think I wanted to see it because I don't like Tom Cruise in real life, but you are very convincing! I'll put it on my list.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the movie recommendation! I think my husband and I are going to go to a movie next week for our anniversary. Do you think this would be a good pick...or is it too depressing...?

Naomi said...

I was curious, thanks for your thoughts about the film.

thediaperdiaries said...

This movie has gotten such bad reviews, but I rarely trust those. You, I trust ;)

My ancestors are from Germany and I was always quite nervous that if I delved into the history of my family, I would find something awful. Ever since I read "Diary of Anne Frank" as a young girl I have been obsessed with Nazi Germany and the persecution of Jews.

I was so excited to find that my family was actively involved in the resistence movement and hiding Jews. I am so proud of that history. I think I would really like this movie.

G's Cottage said...

I saw it today. Thanks for the suggestion. And, I probably would have discounted it on the Cruise connection anticipating a repeat of Top Gun.

Sister Mary Martha said...

I live in Los Angeles and there hasn't been one good word about Mr. Cruise's acting to be found. I suppose I'll see this film some fine day when I don't have to pay so much to see it, thanks to your interesting review.

I'll watch it at home while having a Purple Cow.

JENNIFER said...

that was a very well written convincing blog about a movie that I had really been wondering about.

My hubby will die of shock when I now take back what I previously stated about the chances of us seeing this movie together and casually mention that I do want to see it after all :)

Anonymous said...

As long as you're going to the movies, don't miss "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". It's a winner, too. Brenda

Anonymous said...

It was a great movie, although there was just a touch of Cruise "overacting" at some critical moments....I also saw a great two hour show on the History Channel with more of the story, from the rise of Hitler through the late 50s, with interviews with family of the conspirators - very interesting!

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

We are going to see a movie in the theater this week, and you sold me too, not that it takes much for you to sell me on anything.

Daisy said...

I don't get out much, but this one might be worth seeing.

Nicole said...

Good! I was hoping he wouldn't ruin it. I'll add it to the short list.