Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I'm feeling a bit mixed on Valkyrie. Overall, it does a lot of things right. Despite how insane he might seem in real life, I still think Tom Cruise is a solid actor, and he's as fine as always here leading an army of less famous but still very good performers, with lots of people you recognize and like even if you don't know their names. The movie looks really great, with some stunning cinematography in some scenes, good enough to help me almost completely ignore a scratch on the film running along the left side side of the screen the entire time. Bryan Singer's back to doing something a little smaller after the first two X-Men movies and the fairly mediocre Superman reboot, and I have few qualms with any of the decisions he made. Despite the overall fairly good production though, something about the film is still rubbing me the wrong way a little bit. I think it's an important story and they did a good job of keeping up the tension despite the outcome's inevitability, but I still feel that I didn't quite really enjoy it, that it ran a little too long and that it was just a bit boring.

It's possibly just a case of bad editing. There's not a scene that doesn't have some value to it, that's not well filmed or put together, but all of them combined don't have as much impact as they probably should. If twenty minutes combined were cut from the planning and after-effects of the attempt on Hitler's life, it might flow a lot better. As it is, there's just not as much excitement as I probably would like from a movie about people fighting back against Nazis. I still respect the movie for its emotional weight and showing how not every member of the Third Reich was a bastard. I also liked how they handled the language issue - it starts out in German with subtitles, and quickly transitions to English. Just a way of acknowledging that this is a movie and they're making a compromise to make the experience easier for its audience without resorting to phony German accents. Too many films just have the actors put on an accent, some more successfully than others, but even if it's completely accurate, it's still a very fake authenticity that really annoys me. If the characters aren't speaking the right language anyway, it's not going to help. Anyway, Valkyrie was all right.

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