Rethinking Paradigms


starring Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise is one of those people that you either love or you hate.  I personally think the guy is a great actor, provided the role fits him, and can see that he is smart enough to avoid roles that don’t fit.  Tom Cruise as the English Patient?  Nope, not gonna work.  Tom Cruise as Colonel Stauffenberg in Valkyrie?  Near-perfect fit.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Unternehmen Walküre, was a contingency plan drafted by the German War Ministry to deal with domestic invasion, insurrection, and so forth.  Similar to our own martial law and National Guard mobilizations, the plan used all reserve troops being kept throughout the Reich to provide security in a state of emergency.  What the film doesn’t portray is that by 1944, most of those reserve troops were children from Hitler’s Youth and partially disabled soldiers retired from the front.

Regardless, the movie itself is an excellent portrayal of the dramatic events that happened in 1944 when Colonel Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators attempted to assassinated Hitler and use Operation Valkyrie to take control of the German government and end the war before it ended Germany.  This was the last of 14 attempts to kill Hitler during World War II, most of those attempts being made by Germans who saw through the Third Reich’s national socialism.

While historical inaccuracies are present within the film, this isn’t a concern for a non-documentary.  I would recommend Operation Valkyrie: The Stauffenberg Plot to Kill Hitler if that is what you’re after.  It’s an excellent video documentary of the true events behind the plot.  It is based on the book of the same name, I believe, published in the 1960s.

No, the real problem with Valkyrie is not the actors, the plot, or the way the movie was filmed.  Instead, the problems are with either the editing or the script.  It’s hard to tell which.  Probably editing.  All motivation for Stauffenberg’s actions are compressed into a few short minutes at the beginning of the film and it falls flat.  The Colonel is, for all appearances, a dedicated soldier in the German Army.  Then he complains that he’s being sent to the wrong area and that it will kill his men, he plots with a General to change the orders, and then everything gets shot up by Alllied planes.  It’s just empty.

Other than that glitch, though, the movie is outstanding and well worth the watch.  There is some violence, but it’s wartime violence that shouldn’t be disturbing and the movie was careful to keep it’s PG-13 rating.  It’s a good movie, and I recommend it, but it’s not a must see by any means.