'Valkyrie' Reviews: Tom Cruise A 'Bit Stiff,' Film 'Coolly Efficient'

01/10/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Huffington Post

The first official reviews of Tom Cruise's Nazi thriller Valkyrie are out. The movie opens on Christmas Day. The reviews are modest but good, kind to the acting the production values but disappointed in the lack of suspense, as the ending is a known bad outcome.

Variety's Valkyrie review:

After a long takeoff, "Valkyrie" finally takes flight as a thriller in its second half but never soars very high. Bryan Singer's long-awaited account of the near-miss assassination of Adolf Hitler by a ring of rebel German army officers on July 20, 1944, has visual splendor galore, but is a cold work lacking in the requisite tension and suspense. This second production from Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner at United Artists will do better than the first, "Lions for Lambs," but is a decidedly odd choice for Christmas Day release, and looks destined for just so-so commercial returns.

Cruise himself is a bit stiff but still adequate as Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, the handsome, aristocratic officer whose disenchantment with Nazism, the Fuehrer and the war finds sympathetic ears among a sizable number of military bigwigs at a time when the tide has turned against Germany in the East and an Allied invasion is expected imminently in the West.

Variety did not have a problem with Cruise's American accent:

The star's neutral Yank accent contrasts with the British voices that surround him but, truth be told, it is more the Anglo intonations coming out of the German characters that sound oddly disconcerting.

From The Hollywood Reporter's Valkyrie review:

Bottom Line: Well-crafted historical thriller boasts fine performances but fails to probe the motives behind the plot to kill Hitler.

After keeping "Valkyrie" under wraps for months and moving its release date four times, MGM has finally pulled back the curtains on its Tom Cruise historical thriller to reveal a coolly efficient, entertaining and straightforward tale about the last of 15 known assassination attempts against Adolf Hitler.

Working against the known outcome of this plot, director Bryan Singer -- reunited with his "The Usual Suspects" screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie and his writing partner Nathan Alexander -- manages to maintain suspense and involvement in the unfolding conspiracy...

All details are convincing and presumably well researched. The film has a documentary-like authenticity yet remains a sleek thriller filled with flawed heroes and catastrophic missteps.

Singer has crafted a fine film. One just wishes for greater details -- and a different ending.