Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Movie: Valkyrie

I finally got around to seeing "Valkyrie" the other day. I don't know where to start in describing it, so I'm going start at the conclusion: It's a pretty good movie.

I understand the reluctance of people to see a movie where Nazis are the heroes (and villains). I acknowledge but don't understand some people's dismissing of Tom Cruise. What I really don't understand is why is was so quickly dismissed by people who haven't seen it.

First, "Valkyrie" is a very good technical movie. The costumes were head and shoulders above those on "Hogan's Heroes," although I know nothing about historical accuracy. The sets looked very period and I understand some scenes were actually filmed in the same locations where the actual events took place in WWII. Director Bryan Singer tends to make pretty good movies, Kate Bosworth's miscasting in "Superman Returns" notwithstanding. "Valkyrie" was nicely paced and had a clear, comelling narrative. So far, so good.

I don't get what the big deal is about Tom Cruise. One of my rules about movies is that I don't care about or generally pay attention to what actors do in their off time. What counts is what I see and hear on the screen. I have a memory of reading headlines about Tom Cruise having a meltdown or something a few years ago but I didn't pay attention then and I care even less now. However, I see headlines still today that refer to him as damaged or a nut job. I don't care. I only care about the entertainment value, so by the only standard that matters, Tom Cruise, star and producer, gave me a pretty good entertainment product. The rest is puppet theater.

Your own preconceptions will color your enjoyment of "Valkyrie." If you like WWII movies, suspence thrillers or Bryan Singer films, this one is probably for you.

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