Failure to execute
Perhaps the nicest compliment Valkyrie can receive is to be called inoffensive.
The overlooked story, about a 1944 assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler by rebel German officers, is genuinely fascinating, but Valkyrie attempts to turn it into a thrilling suspense film. If the American education system is worth anything, no one will be surprised how this one turns out.
Having lost an arm, an eye and three fingers in Tunisia, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) is disillusioned with Hitler's idea for Germany, which gets him set up with a number of other likeminded military officers. The plan is to restore Germany's glory and reputation by offing Hitler and installing a more sympathetic fuhrer.
Obviously meant to be a star vehicle for Cruise, Valkyrie is not the movie to revitalize his stalled career, especially so soon after his scene-stealing role in Tropic Thunder. Cruise plays von Stauffenberg like a stale version of Cruise himself, which is only enhanced by his total lack of an accent (outside of three well-delivered lines in German).
On paper, Valkyrie has all the makings of a good movie. Director Bryan Singer and co-writer Christopher McQuarrie (along with Nathan Alexander) previously collaborated on The Usual Suspects.
The strong supporting cast includes Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Terence Stamp, Eddie Izzard and genuine German Thomas Kretschmann. It's because of these people that Cruise doesn't totally torpedo Valkyrie, but the picture is still flavorless and not worth the effort.