Sunday, March 15, 2009

valkyrie (2008, USA, Bryan Singer)

No Scientology, but not much Christian faith either. Dietrich Bonhoeffer doesn't even get a walk-on! A regrettable compromise.
"Before shooting had even been completed on director Bryan Singer's VALKYRIE - an account of the failed attempt by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg and members of the German resistance to assassinate Hitler - the film threatened to become overshadowed by the storm of controversy it had provoked in the German media. Much of the furore centred around the casting of Tom Cruise as Stauffenberg, with the actor's professing of scientology (categorized as a 'dangerous cult' by the German government) central to most concerns. A spokesman for the German Protestant church went so far as to say Cruise's involvement would 'have the same propaganda advantages for scientology as the 1936 Olympics had for the Nazis.'

"The first half of the film is careful to explain the background influences that led Stauffenberg and the other members of the resistance to risk the assassination attempt. There was a strong class aspect to the resistance. Men like Stauffenberg were drawn from the aristocratic Prussian military class and viewed the Nazis as a bunch of thugs led by a lowly Austrian corporal. 'Stauffenberg came from a 900-year-old family who had served kings,' says Singer. 'He had great pride in the longevity of Germany as a great nation. These people were not Nazis, they had never been party members.'

"Stauffenberg was also a Catholic, something only touched on in the film 'I wasn't making a biopic,' Singer clarifies. 'It was important for me that the film be a thriller about the assassination attempt. I left out anything that didn't help to get us to the assassination. His Catholicism was just one facet of his drive.'"

excerpted from James Bell's article "Deadly Knowledge," Sight & Sound, February 2009
So this ain't no SOPHIE SCHOLL. Which means there's still a great Soul Food movie to be made - screenwriters of the world, Arise! Until then, for all the details Hollywood skipped, Videomatica has the dull-as-dumplings doc KILLING HITLER: THE TRUE STORY OF THE VALKYRIE PLOT.


Anonymous said...

I thought this was one of the finest movies of last year. A top notch thriller about men and women who choose to resist even under threat of death. Absolutely worth seeing.

Ron Reed said...

Ah, but we all know it would have been EVEN BETTER with theologians in it...