by Rick Villalobos
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There are a lot of schmucks out there in the world: the fifth member of the Beatles, you know, the one that called it quits because the kazoo just wasn’t in style, the creator of reality television, and the clueless despot who can’t decide whether Mentos is a candy or breathe freshener. The truth is those schmucks may find themselves in the history books, but they are quickly forgotten, lost somewhere between the guy who invented Zima and the pilot of the Hindenburg. That said – let us also not forget the losers of the world – those that have lied and cheated to get ahead, like, the girl scouts. Let us thank the stars above that our daughters are not in a Girls Gone Wild video, yet. And let us pray to the gods that we weren’t the inventor of the atomic bomb, the mustache comb, and the Beta recorder or worse become the parents of one of the most hated men in history.
Valkyrie (2008) is a thriller about a group of German officer’s attempt to assassinate Hitler. Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) is a conspirator that leads a plot to regain Germany from the S.S, a protective squadron of the Nazi organization. With previous attempts failed, Colonel Stauffenberg and the German resistance orders Operation Valkyrie in effect, the final plan meant to overthrow the dictator set out to destroy Germany and the rest of the world.
A story about Nazi soldiers with heart. It sounds like something straight out of Narnia. Take away the violence and the genocide and they are human beings just like you and me. History has a way of portraying the most villainous of people as inhumane. We forget that even murderers must love and are loved. They love to kill, at least, that is certain. And we would love to kill them. Broadway will probably adapt this film into a theatrical show. Hey, why not, they have done worse. Stomp was a hit.
This film is intriguing. It captivates. The concept is original. This story is a first for Hollywood and that is what keeps the onlooker interested. Tom Cruise is a veteran and he is well accompanied by great actors. The bottom line: Valkyrie is a film that was well shot and skillfully acted. It is a DVD worth getting. Ultimately, though, since this film is a historical thriller, historical buffs you be the judge.
Rick Villalobos is a writer and film critic in Chicago.
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