Starring Tom Cruise and based on a true story, Valkyrie is a World War II drama which tells of a plot by senior german officers and opposition politicians to assassinate Hitler and use his own reserve army to secure Berlin.
Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, decorated war hero, senior official at the war ministry and senior plotter. It is he who must place the bomb with which the plotters hope to kill Hitler and then direct the effort to secure Berlin and neuter the SS.
Anyone with even a passing knowledge of the war knows from the outset that the plotters are doomed to failure but, despite the historical inevitabilities, I repeatedly found myself drawn into believing the coup could succeed – a testament both to the compelling script and Bryan Singer ‘s very tense and atmospheric direction.
In many of his films, Cruise has semeed content to merely walk through the action, delivering his fonz-like persona and relying on his charms. Here, framed by a cast which includes Kenneth Branagh and Bill Nighy, he deigns to act. The result is a credible portrayal of a brave, tormented figure, deeply aware of the consequences failure will have on his family but prepared to act for the wider interest.
This is Cruise’s best film for years and the must-see film of the month.
Valkyrie opens at cinemas across the UK Friday, 23rd January.