Valkyrie is the story a failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler. Tom Cruise plays a German who has had enough of Hitler’s Germany and wants to start a new, better German without the Führer’s master plans. Valkyrie is the name of a military operation that would secure power after Hitler’s death-and is an integral part of Tom Cruise’s plans to free Germany.
Valkyrie is a very good movie, and much like Apollo 13, it really doesn’t matter that you know the outcome. At every step of the operation there is a chance, a good chance, that our hero will succeed in killing Hitler and turning the course of the War in a new direction. By the time we get the finial scene a handful of decisions that seem fairly small at the time loom large. There are a series of what ifs-what if the assignation had been committed on the first opportunity instead if the second? What if the call to the Home Guard had gone out three hours earlier? What if the Communications Officer had decided to throw in with the good guys? What if it had a few degrees cooler on the day of the second attempt?
Then there are the larger questions, if Hitler had been killed and a new German Government had been put into place, what would our world look like today? Would we have made it to the moon without Nazi Scientists to show us how to make rockets? Would the United States and the Russians become Super Powers in a world where Germany took up most of Europe? Would Germany have gotten to the Moon in the 1950s? What would have become of The Manhattan Project if the Germans were no longer enemies?
World War Two is the greatest event in human history. So watching Valkyrie I had the urge to think about new timelines and new world orders. Valkyrie didn’t bother with such fantasy, it was all about depicting the actual events in a compelling and intriguing way. Well, as much as a Based on Actual Events movie ever deals with the real events. It was good.
There was a cute little transition as Valkyrie opens with Tom Cruise writing in his diary and speaking in German with English subtitles. After a couple of lines his dialogue morphs into English-as if to say-see, we could have made you read subtitles for two hours but we didn’t.
I liked Valkyrie and all the many British stars doing turns as Nazi’s both good and bad. One small surprise was in the closing credits when Bad Hat Harry is listed as one of the production companies. Familiar to all fans of House M.D. as a cartoon due at the beach-That’s some bad hat, Harry. Well, you can’t live by House alone I guess.