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Valkyrie (2-Disc Special Edition) - action adventure DVD / suspense thriller DVD review
Rated PG-13by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilkinson, Terence Stamp, Bill Nighy, Eddie Izzard
Director: Bryan Singer   Studio: United Artists
DVD release: 19 May 2009   Runtime: 121 minutes (2 discs)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Aspect ratio 1.85:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital Surround 5.1 - English; Dolby Surround Spanish, French), Subtitles (English SDH, Spanish, French), Commentary (Tom Cruise, Bryan Singer, Christopher McQuarrie), Commentary (Christopher McQuarrie, Nathan Alexander), The Journey To Valkyrie, The Valkyrie Legacy, Digital copy

It's no surprise that not all Germans were aligned with Hitler during WWII, just like it's no surprise that all of America is not on board with whatever president happens to be in office at any given time. There were at least sixteen attempts on Hitler's life, but the most famous was the July plot of 1944. It succeeded only in harming Der Führer and killing and injuring several bystanders. Valkyrie is a dramatization of this failed attempt to wrest control of Germany from the hands of the increasingly unsound dictator.

The focus of Valkyrie is Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise), a soldier, father, and German citizen. He believes that Hitler has taken Germany in a direction that will tarnish its reputation in Europe and the world. The concentration camps and the extermination of the Jewish citizens of Germany have displeased him greatly, and he's been vocal about it. An Allied attack has left him injured and unable to serve in a field capacity. Sent to Berlin to perform less active duty, von Stauffenberg meets other like-minded officers, and they begin to put together their intricate plot. Not only do they need to eliminate Hitler, they need to hobble the SS and Gestapo as well.

Director Bryan Singer has assembled an excellent supporting cast, including Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Terence Stamp, and Christian Berkel. Cruise is excellent as von Stauffenberg; as much as we ridicule his public persona and wacky Scientology ways, he's a good actor, and that's what he's for.

I can't say how historically accurate Valkyrie is, but that's not really the point. The story is told, and if we're curious we can investigate the documentaries and books that adhere to the truth perhaps more than a Hollywood film. There's a short documentary on the DVD to get you started; it's produced by the filmmakers, so make your own judgements.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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