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Valkyrie (2008)

February 12, 2009

Cinema 1, 7:30 PM
Robinsons Galleria, Pasig City

I was fortunate enough to catch the movie premiere of Valkyrie (which is the name of the Operation, not the character, as relayed to Pinky) thanks to Jam 88.3. As a major fan of Germany and espionage, plus my very misguided fixation on Adolf Hitler, you could say I have been wanting to watch this movie since I first read about it on-line. You see I was already able to see the German version (read, perhaps, as authentic) of the same plot entitled Stauffenberg sans the English subtitle (ich auch verstehen sehr gut!) and is so eager to spot the difference.

At the very basic level, there were some minor twists and turns in the movie, but nothing that really stood out for the sake of making yet another explosive (no pun intended) Hollywood movie. In short, no lame attempt to make the movie less accurate than most of the actors’ non-German accents (Is it me, or does everyone sound British? Harry Potter, is that you?) And Tom cruise did not appear Matix-like and his shooting moves at the end actually seemed like a relic of the Second World War. Hehehe!

I also appreciate Valkyrie’s attempt to develop Stauffenberg (the character, not the movie) as a traitor cum hero. Unlike in Stauffenberg (the movie, not the character) where the protagonist was shown and portrayed as is. Moreover, Stauffenberg (the movie) was a quicker version, no more sidelines on other minor characters who may, at some point or another, have been significant to the development of the movie. Thank goodness, both Valkyrie and Stauffenberg did not dwell too much on romance.

However, I prefer how die Fuhrer was shown at Stauffenberg which was, give or take, no longer than 10 seconds. Those cold eyes, I must say, showed Hitler the way Hitler should be. Allowing Hitler to speak conversationally (not the shouting version which most of us could probably remember thanks to Discovery Channel or Looney Tunes) really crumbled the movie for me. After all, I actually don’t have any idea how Hitler was on a day-to-day basis. I would like the image of Hitler in my mind to remain the same and that is eternal shouting and slamming on a pulpit 24/7.

Valkyrie is a great movie which tells all of us that in the midst of evil, humanity still exists. Unfortunately it isn’t a very memorable one at all. Just like Stauffenberg (the movie and the character), we will all forget about it as soon as the next Harry Potter or X-Men installment arrives.

But for a real hero’s sake, let’s not.

As George Santayana claims, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”


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