Valkyrie

Tom Cruise starring in the fact-based story of a plot to kill Hitler by Nazi Col. Claus von Stauffenberg sounds like Oscar bait. It isn't. And the sooner you accept it, the more fun you'll have at this satisfying B movie. Hearing Cruise's American accent is jarring at first. But his British co-stars, including Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilkinson and Eddie Izzard, don't sound German either. No worries. X-Men director Bryan Singer and his Usual Suspects screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie will keep you in the game. Operation Valkyrie referred to a shadow government that would control Germany in case the Führer (David Bamber) bit the bullet. Stauffenberg and his cohorts planned to assassinate Hitler, kick in Valkyrie and forge a truce with the Allies. Since he lost his left eye in battle, as well as his right hand and two fingers on his left hand, Cruise wears an eye patch and prosthetics. Nice details, but it's the palm-sweating suspense that counts.

From The Archives Issue 421: May 10, 1984