Sometimes you wish the best for certain directors because they seem to possess a real gift. Bryan Singer is one of those for me. Since “the Usual Suspects”, I have been rooting for Singer. When I heard he was doing “X-Men”, I was thrilled. I also wasn’t disappointed. He proved himself quite adept at handling the super-hero genre. Heck, he managed to direct a sequel that was as big – if not bigger – than the original in “X-Men 2”. He may have been misguided when he ditched on the 3rd X-Men movie to make “Superman Returns”; the film was such a dud that even DC Comics admits to thoughts of remaking that film already. So, when I heard that Singer was getting a crack at “Valkyrie” – a film based upon the real events surrounding the assassination plot against Hitler by his own officers – I thought it would be a slam dunk of a success. When I heard the talent discussed as being in the film, I was even more excited.
I should have expected the inevitable outcome though. I mean, after all, we know that Hitler was not assassinated.
The talents of the actors in this film are impressive. Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy (whom I absolutely love!), Kenneth Branagh, and the enduring Terence Stamp are all just phenomenal! These men are just plain brilliant actors. No matter what they do, they always leave an impression. Their resumes are HUGE and exceedingly wondrous. Even Tom Cruise can be fairly brilliant, depending on the movie: I look no farther than “Born on the 4th of July”, “A Few Good Men”, and “The Last Samurai” for proof of that. I saw “Valkyrie” as a chance for Singer to get back up to where he belongs. I wanted him to have another killer of a hit.
I love WWII films. I eat them up. (Ask anybody that knows me how many times I have watched “Band of Brothers” for proof.) I may be one of but a few folks out there that can actually watch “the Longest Day” again and again. It’s very exciting subject matter to me for many varied reasons. If there is a film centered on WWII out there that I have NOT seen then it is a RARE film. Needless to say, I thought the combination of Singer as a director, the storyline, and the amazing cast was a perfect combination.
Sadly, the film doesn’t live up to my expectations. It wasn’t a bad movie. It just wasn’t a great movie. It lacked something. Maybe it was the story? The plot fails, Hitler lives. Rats. Then again, we already knew that – since that’s what really happened. Was I simply looking for too much from this film? Maybe so. You have to admit though, it sure sounded good.
When it is all said and done, I will continue to root for Bryan Singer in hopes that someday he will achieve another critical success like “The Usual Suspects”. “Valkyrie” may not have been it, but it wasn’t a bad movie. I suppose I was just expecting more. A note to all directors out there though: if you have Kenneth Branagh in you movie, don’t limit his screen time to 15 minutes. That is infuriating.
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE
- Valkyrie (cinemaglimpses.wordpress.com)