January 2, 2009

Valkyrie

A mildly gripping but ultimately pointless conspiracy thriller. There were more than a dozen conspiracies by Germans to kill Hitler, but this one isn't particularly clever or exciting. The ultimate theme of this movie seems to be "not all Nazis are evil", which is hardly the most necessary story to tell, is it?
Tom Cruise, meanwhile, has devolved to the point where the only emotion he's capable of is single-minded determined certainty. I didn't find his regular American speaking voice distracting, but I did find it troubling that he was so certain and unwavering about everything through every second of the movie. It was impossible for me to empathize with his character. Kenneth Branagh has a supporting role as another Nazi conspirator, and I felt more empathy for his character and his plight in his few brief scenes than I ever felt for Cruise. Swap Branagh and Cruise's parts, and this movie earns a B+ instead of a C+.
THEATER NOTES: The 7:20pm showing at the Embassy Landmark Theater in Waltham was nearly sold out. I think this is a symptom of how few quality movies there are to choose from this season. Most of the movies I'm "supposed" to see before Oscars night look so depressing, this might be the only exctiing film out right now which doesn't star Jim Carrey or another animated character. If only the new Harry Potter movie weren't sitting in a vault right now. Sigh.