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Valkyrie (Two-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy) (Bilingual) [Import]

Tom Cruise , Bill Nighy , Bryan Singer    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 38.79 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Unpretentious and dramatically straightforward, Valkyrie is a suspenseful yet ennobling story about the last attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler prior to the end of World War II. Tom Cruise is effective if a little opaque as hero Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who channels his anger at Hitler's atrocities and mismanagement of the war by joining a secret organization bent on killing the Führer. When the outspoken Stauffenberg hits on the idea of linking Hitler's death with an official policy to safeguard Berlin during a government crisis--a contingency plan called "Valkyrie"--the group realizes a post-assassination coup could be covered by rapidly implementing the plan. History tells us the plot failed, of course, and Hitler killed himself months later. But that doesn't stop Cruise or director Bryan Singer from approaching the film as a thinking person's thriller, told from inside the conspirators' camp, where the outcome of their deeds were uncertain for several tense hours.

In the tradition of The Great Escape, Valkyrie is a war movie full of famous faces, including Kenneth Branagh, Terence Stamp, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy and Eddie Izzard. (The lesser-known David Bamber is very good as Hitler, hunched and cracking under pressure.) The film's gravity is offset a bit by the fun of seeing all these actors in a factually-based slice of history, and by a few, interesting stylistic flourishes on Singer's part, including the peculiarly unsettling image of a mosquito sizzled to death in close-up. --Tom Keogh

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie! Little known WWII event. Aug. 13 2009
This movie is based on real events: the last assassination attempt by German officers against Hitler and features the key figure in this as Tom Cruise plays Claus von Stauffenberg. Most of us may recall learning a very little in school about this event that took place on July 20th 1944, but how many of us know how important it was? The film explores that somewhat though more is brought out in the documentary on the BluRay disc. This was a full 2 hour documentary film (though the title escapes me and isn't listed on the product page - and I'm doing this review from work; shhh!) and I found it very interesting and engrossing - probably even more so than the feature which itself is very good. The documentary talks to the surviving plotters and family members and gives a very good background to why this attempt was made and also what the short and long term repercussions were for all involved. It is very good.

As for the film, it too is very well done and quite realistic. Boy, I love BluRay! What a crisp picture and excellent sound (hopefully my neighbors are ok with it!). The movie is excellent and the plot speeds along - but not too fast. Cruise was the perfect guy to play von Stauffenberg (watch the documentary, you'll agree). As for the criticisms when it came out that Cruise spoke American English, well the film starts with German and very quickly goes to English. Who cares! Watch it and enjoy it - and learn something!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing "plot"! July 14 2009
By Dr. Z
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This is a very good movie and I don't care what some critics have said about it. The story is just mesmerizing and keeps you on your toes for the whole movie. Tom Cruise does a good job and he is surrounded by a terrific cast, including Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilkinson and Terence Stamp. An excellent movie and Blu-ray picture and sound are also superb.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Extras Too Feb. 9 2012
I really enjoyed this film. Lot's of drama and suspense. I'm a WWII buff so I also appreciated the documentary that came with the blue ray disc. I strongly recommend this product for anyone who enjoys the WWII genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best July 13 2011
One of the best WWII films ever made. The music reminds one of the brilliantly tense Tora Tora Tora, for those of us who appreciate such things. The acting is top-notch, from a Shakespeare-caliber cast. The events are true - as the director explains, he did not need to embellish anything, as the events themselves prove fantastically exciting on their own.

A highlight is the meeting with The Fuhrer... chilling. The filmakers successfully impart the sensation of holding court in the presence of Satan. Hats off to the real people who dared to do so.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  683 reviews
251 of 283 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magazine articles proven wrong...again March 4 2009
By V. Berk - Published on Amazon.com
9/10 Stars

Forget all the negative hype surrounding Valkyrie, because I assure you it is false. Bryan Singer has made a well-crafted thriller that kept me and my family on the edge of our seats until the end - even though we all know what the story's unfortunate outcome. Also, many tabloids were making this out to be the movie that would permanently cripple the career of Tom Cruise. This is entirely false. Cruise delivers a fine performance, and this hatred I can only assume is related to his rather odd personal life. Tom Cruise is as strong of an actor as he ever was, and I won't let something like turning Oprah's couch into a playground deny the fact that the man has talent, and is a truly passionate actor (and seriously, he does have a slight resemblance to Stauffenberg).

The movie is based on the last of fifteen known attempts on the life of German dictator Adolf Hitler (I'm sure everyone will have him in a nice "Five Most Evil People" list), and has Tom Cruise playing Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who of course was the key player in the assassination attempt. Ultimately this attempt failed (as we all know Hitler would die by suicide nine months later), but that doesn't keep Valkyrie from being an addictively engaging film.

Every member of the cast does their part well, not jockeying for superiority in any way. More importantly Cruise does not grandstand in this movie, fading in with the rest of the cast, rather than trying to stand above them like you'd expect, given his past films. Cruise gives a performance similar to 2005's War of the Worlds, where he does a good performance, but he never tries to overpower the other members of the cast. In Valkyrie Tom Cruise is a being a good team player, not trying to steal any glory, and never once does he overact the part.

Using very little CGI Valkyrie is also a wonderful film to look at. The vintage automobiles and aircrafts make this film have a distinct authentic flair that few other war films have (CGI looks like it was only used for the climatic assassination attempt). You can look at this and tell that this is the real deal, with the production team putting careful care into how they want this film to look, unlike most Blockbuster films that try and inflate every aspect of the film rather than aim for reality. Like the performance by Tom Cruise they don't try and overpower the audience with special effects, they simply let the characters slip into the realistic settings.

Also, the complaints about the accents I truly feel are desperate attempts to bash Cruise's performance. It was director Bryan Singer's concept to not use false German accents, and not that of Cruise, or the primarily British cast. I agree with Singer's concept that if feels false, and inaccurate to have people speak in English, but with foreign accents. I know several Germans in real life, and they do not sound very "German" when they speak in English, because the accent is not intended for the English language. I personally feel the desire for English being spoken in German accents comes from decades of WWII films where we've categorized every-single member of the German army, and by them speaking in that accent only is to cliché them and separate them from American audiences. They can speak in German accents, but only if they're speaking in German, because if they aren't it seems to be a tool to keep your common American moviegoer from relating to the characters.

Don't go into Valkyrie expecting to be greeted with a horrifically bad film that you will be able to poke fun at with friends. The movie has been released, and I feel the rumors, and negative hype of been proven decisively false. This isn't a movie to kill Cruise's career, but it won't help him regain love in the American community either (as previously mentioned he doesn't shine so much as mix in with the rest of the cast). It is a very enjoyable dramatization of a true event, and I don't think the material could have been handled much better, even with a full German cast, because Singer's style and method of conveying this story are all very well-done.

Go out and enjoy this dramatization of one of the darkest periods of human history. It is worth every second of your time, and all though it isn't Oscar-worthy it is certainly worth two-hours of your time.
129 of 146 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faithful to History, well done Jan. 19 2009
By Allen Vander Meulen - Published on Amazon.com
All Historical Dramas faithful to the actual events run the risk of being dry and boring. Fortunately, although it is a bit dry here and there, the producers of Valkyrie didn't stray too far in that direction. The story is well-told, and I did not feel that it dragged or got into excessive and boring detail at any point. If you are a student of WWII, and particularly this famous failed attempt to assassinate Hitler, you will be pleased with the quality of the film, the acting, and the film's faithfulness to facts and to the tone of the times. The film brings forth many details of which I was not aware, and the historical facts I know-of from past research are accurately portrayed.

It is clear computer graphics are used extensively in this film, since many of the scenes could not have been filmed in any other way, more than 60 years after events took place. The special effects are for the most part well done, and are not intrusive - clearly used only as needed to support the story instead of being an excuse to show-off a studio's CGI capabilities.

As for acting, this story was an excellent vehicle for Tom Cruise. I feel Cruise's portrayal of Colonel von Stauffenburg, who was a central figure in the assassination plot and this story, was excellent and believable. Some may argue that the characterization is a bit wooden, but I suspect this may be intentional on Cruise's part, and in keeping with the historical figure: a decorated soldier filled with anger towards Hitler, who could survive in the upper levels of the German Army only by masking his true feelings.

The rest of the cast is phenomenal. I was amazed at the number of familiar and respected actors and actresses that appeared in relatively minor roles throughout the film. Not a single performance was less than I would expect from such a cast.

The film is not a light-hearted one, nor does it end well for most of the characters. There are several bloody scenes, but none of the violence is gratuitous. As such, this is a film that will be appreciated primarily by those interested in the history of WWII, or are solid Tom Cruise fans. I am well pleased with the film as a whole, and feel the end product meets the goals of both the producers and their intended audience. I'll give it Five Stars.
97 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding film, a must see for all history buffs... Jan. 23 2009
By Marcos M. Sendon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
As a history buff, I was complelled to see this film from the get go. The fact that critics were particularly brutal led me to believe this was indeed an excellent film. I was very pleased to see it stuck to the facts even if some of the details are rather mundane. The cinematography does an excellent job at placing you in the era as if you were a bystander to the events before you.
The acting was simply top notch. Tom Cuise elevated himself with his performance. He was quite believable and true to the accounts of Colonel Stauffenberg. I reject the accounts by critics that this was a Gerry Maguire performance in uniform. The supporting cast is award worthy. it is rare to find a cast that works so seemlessly together. I believe the director deserves particular credit for this achievement.
Bottom line, Valkyrie is a top quality film worthy of your time. Forget what all those bitter, envious critics says, see it for yourself and then judge the film in it's merits.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine film, though audio levels on Blu-ray seriously detract May 28 2009
By terpfan1980 - Published on Amazon.com
I don't want to waste time here repeating what others have said about this film and its attention to historical events. That aspect seems to be covered well and little I could say would add value in that area.

What I would like to comment about and somewhat warn those thinking about the Blu-ray version of this film is that the audio levels and fluctuation there in may drive viewers a little batty. What I mean is that for much of the film the dialogue is going to be quiet, almost at a whisper level. That is as it should be since a lot of the activity is secretive discussion of treasonous plans, but.... well, there's a problem in that if you adjust the volume up so you can hear most of the dialogue when normal (non-whisper level) dialogue comes along it may nearly blast your ears. Most certainly any explosions, thunder, or other noise will do the job and chase you out of the viewing area.

I wish this wasn't a problem here, and perhaps in a different home theatre configuration it might not be a problem at all, but I bring the problem up so that others might be forewarned.

In other aspects the Blu-ray is excellent. Video quality is superb though the color scheme is primarily earth tones (military hues and browns and grays). The color levels are good and the image is clean and clear. Given that the film is 'new' it should be expected that the transfer would be pristine.

Most definitely worth viewing, and arbitrarily worth a purchase for World War II film buffs.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars CRUISE TAKES ON HITLER May 27 2009
By Mark Turner - Published on Amazon.com
This Memorial Day I was thinking about the soldiers of past wars who placed their lives on the line in an attempt to preserve freedom for so many in this country. It seems as if we've used a holiday to salute them but as with many holidays it boils down to sales pitches and day long war film viewing. And it's always the same films. Now a new movie has a chance to be included in that group.

VALKYRIE is the true story about a group of high level German officers in World War II who determined that the only way to save their country was to assassinate Adolph Hitler. These were not the fanatical members of the SS or the Gestapo but every day soldiers who believed in their country who had realized far too late that Hitler was not the man they had hoped for.

The film opens with disillusioned Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) in Africa writing in his journal as he tries to obey orders while at the same time save his men. After finding a possible solution, they are attacked and the official who would help is killed and Stauffenberg is severely wounded, losing a hand, an eye and several fingers.

Returned to Germany, Stauffenberg is placed in a high level position. There, due to his vocal criticism of how things are going, he is recruited to replace a man recently found guilty of treason. General Olbricht (Bill Nighy) has been given the task to find the replacement and thinks he has found the man in Stauffenberg. Truth be told, he has.

A meeting Stauffenberg visits involving those plotting to take over reveals to him that while they have the desire, they don't have the plans in place to do so. Taking out Hitler is one thing, but what do you do afterwards? His research leads him to Operation Valkyrie, a plan set up to bring in the rear guard soldiers stationed in Germany to prevent a coupe or uprising. Once Hitler is killed, this plan goes into effect and the country is then run by whoever controls this army.

The plan is placed in motion, other members of the army are recruited for vital roles and the plan calls for Stauffenberg to detonate a time released bomb inside Wolf's Lair, the bunker Hitler gathers together with his generals to plan the war. A single explosion here would be enough to take out Hitler and many of those faithful to him.

As history has told us, this plan failed. Not because of its execution but due to numerous circumstances. Hitler's moving the meeting from the bunker to a cooler spot, the bomb being placed behind a heavy table plank preventing it from doing him damage, unstable fuses...all contributed.

Without certain knowledge that the bomb had killed Hitler, the organizers follow the lead of Stauffenberg and initiate Valkyrie. Given the time to get it going, the plot might have worked on that level alone, but unfortunately it failed.

Knowing the complete story before seeing the film doesn't detract from the drama that it provides. As I said at the beginning, we are witness to a group of determined men who risked their lives and those of their families to put an end to the rule of a madman. As soldiers they served their country, not Hitler. And when it was obvious that he was insane, they continued to serve their country by trying to take him out.

As an historical document the movie does a decent job of making us believe we are witness to the events as they unfold. Certainly the more dramatic moments where proclamations are yelled before executions are carried out might not be factual but they do inspire. And how does it stand as a movie? Only so so.

As viewers we are bombarded with fast paced images that hold our attention like a giddy schoolchild watching a silver ball bounce back and forth from flipper to bumper in the pinball game that is film. A slower paced film that unfolds slowly isn't likely to hold the attention these days unfortunately. I've often thought that if Alfred Hitchcock were making movies today he'd find himself unemployed. Fast pacing seems to be the rule of thumb now.

For those who are willing to set this aside and watch a good story unfold you'll be rewarded with this film. It not only tells a story that many should be made aware of, it does so as completely as two hours can and is executed to perfection by a cast of stand out actors that is second to none.

Director Bryan Singer made his mark with THE USUAL SUSPECTS and moved on to the super hero genre with X-MEN and SUPERMAN RETURNS. Here he shows he can tackle a real life story and make us interested while adhering to the tale at hand.

VALKYRIE is not a movie for frenetic MTV generation viewers. It is, however, a movie that has earned a spot on the Memorial Day movie list. It's not only the US soldiers that need remembered on those days. It is the men who tried to stop the war as well. And this group deserves credit for doing their best as well.
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