Tom Cruise has it tough. Besides receiving constant criticism for his bizarre behaviour — which not only includes his couch-jumping and Scientology praising ways but his 2005 verbal showdown with Today Show host Matt Lauer — he is also being scrutinized for his most recent role in the WWII flick Valkyrie.
Although some other critics have already labeled his performance as unmemorable and amuse themselves silly with the images of Cruise in an eye patch, I think Cruise proves there is a reason why, even through all of his shenanigans, he is still doing well as an actor in Hollywood.
Cruise stars in this suspense film—based on a true story as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. Stauffenberg serves his country but hopes that someone will find a way to stop one of the world’s most evil tyrants known to date —Adolf Hitler — from destroying Europe and Germany. Stauffenberg realizes time is running out and joins the German resistance. These men use Hitler’s own emergency plan — know as Operation Valkyrie — to assassinate the dictator and overthrow Nazi Germany. While his life and the lives of others, including his wife and children, are on the line, Stauffenberg believes that he is the one that must kill Hitler.
Director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men) teams up once again with Academy-Award winner screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) in order to tell the story of the men who led the operation to assassinate Hitler. The film also stars an acclaimed cast including Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten, Thomas Kretschmann, Eddie Izzard, Christian Berkel and Terence Stamp.
The film, shot in Germany at various locations where many of the actual events occurred, succeeds at being thrilling and engaging. It is one of the few historical films that you might just not doze off to.
And while I do not have to tell you whether or not the plot to assassinate Hitler was successful (I sure hope not because if I do, where the hell were you in history class?) I will tell you that Cruise managed to redeem himself (if not a lot but a little) as an actor taking the steps to prove he still has it. Although Cruise does deliver a memorable performance, it does not remotely equal his role and talent in Risky Business.
Valkyrie was originally slated for an October 2008 release date but somehow someone thought a December 25th release date was more appropriate. I also hope I do not have to tell you it is not a jolly feel good holiday film to be watch by the entire family.