Saturday, 7 August 2010

High explosives work better without history

There's something admirable about the filmmaker who looks at the strange language the Nazis spoke in and thinks 'No, I can't be bothered'. After all, it doesn't really matter how they speak, just what they're saying. It's a shame that the makers of Valkyrie didn't take the historical inaccuracy a little further. While watching Tom Cruise and Bill Nighy plotting to assassinate Hitler, you get the feeling that they're not going to succeed. Which is a shame. It looks like it might work. It looks like they're going to win. But they don't. And that's not a spoiler. It's history. But this doesn't feel like a serious war drama - it feels like a thriller. Viewed like this the inevitable conclusion is disappointing. Would it be wrong to twist the past in order to make a 'better' film? Or would it be fun to see a different scenario play out? The whole thing is a construction. As soon as actors walk in and start saying lines it becomes fiction. It's all fake really. Not accurate at all. So does the plot really have a responsibility?

Probably shouldn't get philosophical about it though. It's a film. It's not bad. It moves along with a nice amount of tension and doesn't give too much thought to showing the grim reality. Bryan Singer, director of X-Men and Superman Returns, doesn't get bogged down in anything too horrible. Colonel Stauffenberg has a few poignant moments with his family, but he doesn't overdo it. He's got a job to do. The focus is on the conspiracy, the execution, and the aftermath. Two hours. No crying. Done.


  1. Excellent point. They've already made the film not historical just by making it - they owe nothing to history by changing it. Isn't it the point of film to tell stories from different points of view? Why not make a movie where they succeed in killing Hitler and the way the world could have been after? Almost like a parallel universe to this one where things had changed drastically, what would or could have happened... How the world would be now, how the Holocaust would have been viewed had he been killed long before he took power. Things that make you go "Hm." Again, excellent point. If you're going to have Germans in Germany speaking English all the time, why not change other things, too. Tom Cruise is a lot like Mel Gibson to me - It's very hard to take their acting seriously when they are so openly ... odd or judgemental in real life.

  2. I could never take them seriously in this, y'know? I mean, is it wrong that I think Tom Cruise could've just put on a British accent, at least?