Valkyrie Blu-ray review

Tom Cruise in Valkyrie
Tom Cruise in Valkyrie

Valkyrie tells the heroic true story of several German military officers that wholly rejected the ideals of Adolf Hitler and, in an effort to end his assault on German culture, attempt to assassinate him for the greater good of their country. They form a secret alliance with the purpose of removing Hitler from power, understanding the consequences of failure, but willing to die for what they believed was right.

Valkyrie Blu-ray disc coverBryan Singer, director of The Usual Suspects and X-Men, crafts a brilliant war epic, based on the incredible true story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) and the assassination plot that takes shape as allied forces rapidly approach Nazi Germany. Colonel von Stauffenberg is recruited into the plan following an incident in Northern Africa that results in the loss of his left eye and right hand.

Distressed at the loss of German lives under Hitler’s belligerent rule, Stauffenburg facilitates a plan that involves the staging of a coup under the guise of Hitler’s Valkyrie ordinance, which is a directive that immediately dispatches the Reserve Army in Germany, should anything disrupt communication from central command, or should the dictator be killed. Stauffenberg rewrites the order to exclude the SS from taking control, which would leave the head of the Reserve Army, General Fromm (Tom Wilkinson), in charge of Germany. Fromm rejects the plan, but keeps quiet, choosing to neither support the dissenters nor report them to the authorities.

Riveting tension, excellent acting and high production value, all meld to create a superior war yarn, although it suffers from a lack of back story and some obvious plot points. Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Kenneth Branagh and Terence Stamp, all give penetrating performances, that also help elevate Valkyrie far beyond average.

Special Features

  • Commentary by lead actor Tom Cruise, director Bryan Singer, and co-writer Christopher McQuarrie. This is an entertaining and thorough discussion, that focuses on specific scenes and how the film came together.
  • Commentary – The second commentary features co-writers Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander, as they discuss their experience retelling the dramatic events of the Operation Valkyrie Hitler assassination plot.
  • The Journey to Valkyrie – This informative featurette tells the history of Valkyrie from its conception through final execution, and includes interviews with the filmmakers and actors as they discuss details of the production and themes of the film.
  • The Road to Resistance: A Visual Guide – Hosted by Philipp Von Schulthess – the grandson of Colonel Stauffenberg – this brief vignette recounts the life of Col. Stauffenberg.
  • The African Front Sequence – This featurette goes behind the scenes of the opening sequence of Valkyrie, analyzing the action from every technical aspect.
  • Taking to the Air – The film’s aerial coordinators are interviewed about the use of vintage aircraft, with segments from the sets being shown.
  • Recreating Berlin – The actors and filmmakers discuss the locations and sets used in the making of the movie.
  • 92nd Street Y: Reel Pieces with Tom Cruise and Bryan Singer – Tom Cruise and Bryan Singer are interviewed in a town hall-style forum, and discuss many elements of Valkyrie.
  • The Valkyrie Legacy – Kevin Burns directs this documentary that goes beyond the story of Valkyrie and delves into the rise and fall of Hitler himself.
  • Disc two contains a Digital Copy of Valkyrie for your iPod, iPhone or PDA device.

Valkyrie Blu-ray Disc is presented in widescreen format with English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio; Spanish & French 5.1 Dolby Digital; and Spanish, French, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin & Brazilian Portuguese subtitles.

Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Christopher McQuarrie, Nathan Alexander
Cast: Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten, Thomas Kretschmann, Terence Stamp, Eddie Izzard, Kevin McNally, Christian Berkel

Original Release Date: December 25, 2008
Blu-ray Release Date: May 19, 2009