***/**** Image N/A Sound B Extras A
starring Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Terence Stamp
screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie & Nathan Alexander
directed by Bryan Singer
by Walter Chaw Tight as a drum, deadly serious, and a mild corrective to not the enduring misconception that there were no men of conscience in Hitler's Germany, but rather to sickly, condescending awards-season bullshit like Defiance, The Reader, and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Bryan Singer's Valkyrie swoops down like its titular winged avatar to deliver the Holocaust melodrama to a minor kind of Valhalla. It's sober-minded and fact-based, with another handsome-destroying performance by Tom Cruise (though he only loses one eye here after losing both in Minority Report) that places him in uneasy orbit alongside Warren Beatty as another pretty boy aspiring for seriousness through mutilation of the self. It's a sober thriller, and because the outcome is never in doubt in a historically-based plot to assassinate Hitler, it lives and dies by its ability to sound smart and cast well.