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Historic drama loses credibility

During a season in which Hollywood actors glide across red carpets with hopes of making an acceptance speech, a specific type of film continually tends to be shown in cinemas across the world. With a subject matter that’s strong enough to attain a profound worldwide attention, Nazi Germany/Holocaust films could easily classify among their own unique genre.

One film, however, is trying to break free of these redundancies by depicting a never before seen Nazi Germany story about a courageous plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

In the Bryan Singer directed fact-based historical thriller titled “Valkyrie,” Tom Cruise stars as Nazi Col. Claus von Stauffenburg. Instead of following the orders of his dictating ruler during World War II, Col. Stauffenberg sees a deadly and degrading evil looming over his country. Hoping to use his military power to give Germany back to the hands of good, Stauffenberg begins a careful search among his enemies to find others willing to stand up against one of the most powerful evil men of all time.

With cast members who barely feature any German roots, “Valkyrie” chooses to translate its historical German story to an Americanized representation. This by no means discredits the true nature of the story, but does manage to take away some of its authenticity. The lack of attempt at a German accent by any actor overtakes nearly every scene. Pointing a finger solely at Tom Cruise for this allegation is ludicrous, considering he’s the only one to speak the language as an opening narrator. Besides, it could be worse. There’s nothing more annoying than a bad foreign accent hindering your enjoyment of a potentially great film.

What “Valkyrie” lacks in depiction is nearly erased by Singer’s unique stylistic direction. Aside from accompanying tightly wound sequences of suspense with an artistic composure of moving images, Singer collects a powerful supporting cast to surround Cruise with a significant level of energy. Strong performances by Bill Nighy and Eddie Izzard, show how men like Stauffenberg made the courageous decisions they’ll forever be remembered for.

“Valkyrie” didn’t plan on changing history, nor did it intend to make a story that felt redundant. Seeing that the outcome of the story never once detracted from it, “Valkyrie” is best viewed as an effective thriller that depicts its true events with courageous real-life characters and their timeless humanity.

Letter Grade: B-

Rated PG-13 for violence and brief strong language.

Runtime: 120 min.

Starring: Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Terence Stamp and Eddie Izzard

Directed by Bryan Singer

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