Who wants to hear a story about a hero that failed?
The one who hoped, and died hoping. The one who sacrificed his life with cause yet without result. I don’t think I do, nor do most other people who wish to have the light of a better world shone upon them. ‘Valkyrie’ is such a story, a true story that I had the chance to study as a child, and see it vividly come to life in this adaptation about the men who tried to save the world from a monster. I do not want to look at this like a movie, what happened in this series of events is a very serious matter.
For the sake of informing, ‘Valkyrie’ is the story of Colonel Stauffenberg leading a resistance against Adolf Hitler with a plot to assassinate him and subsequently seize control of Berlin with the reserve army. Within the ranks of the resistance were promising politicians and many fine Generals of Hitler’s army that sacrificed personal gain for the greater good. I do not need to tell you that this did not end well, I knew full well that this would not end well yet with perception of a Hollywood gloss, throughout the movie I kept hoping. I hoped that that this movie would give me hope, but it sucked it from my lungs just as Hitler did so with all those who transgressed against him.
The movie itself is quite well made, very brisk and moves at a shocking speed. Those were the quickest two hours I have sat through in a long time. Tom Cruise was a very intense and adept Colonel Stauffenberg, the film literally pivots around his emotions. Berlin and the rest of the scenery was accurately replicated, including all the sharp uniforms and the sharp demeanor of Hitler’s army. You felt the genuine dis-allusion among the many people Stauffenberg encountered, almost every man absolutely feared what would happen if they joined the Colonel in an unsuccessful coup. Death without question, such power Hitler asserted over his short lived empire.
However, something was missing. I want to say that the movie lacked a larger scale. It was very focused, very precise, almost like a criminal thriller rather than a film about the plot to assassinate the most dangerous and powerful man in the world. But it is not that, it is the story. You really do have to see this movie, to feel how coincidentally things changed, that is if you aren’t familiar with the historical facts about what happened. This is an entertaining way to educate yourself. A wise General in the film advised Stauffenberg at one point saying “It is a military operation, things never go to plan”.
Things happen for a reason, Hitler survived for a reason. His first speech after this assassination attempt caused him to proclaim his survival as “providence”, as if God was on his side and not those that sacrificed their lives to save the world from war. I am sure there was a very good reason he surivived, maybe the world neededed a little big longer to learn a lesson. Even so, the story as is, is a story I do not want to hear, about the heroes who failed.