The “July 20 Plot” has actually been filmed several times. My favorite is the 1990 version of The Plan to Kill Hitler, in which the late handsome Brad Davis was playing the leading role, Count Stauffenberg. Even I only watched this movie once some 15 yrs ago, I could still recall the scene that Count Stauffenberg was practicing how to clinch the “pencil” with his three remaining fingers. I expected to see sth similar or sth even better in the latest Valkyrie. Unfortunately, Tom Cruise totally turned me down.
Maybe it was because that the leading role was played by Tom Cruise, all other actors and actress, roles, everything, just became “less important”. But the director tended to use a whole European cast to portrait the German officers and official. So you just found out that the mega-watt smile was surrounded by a group of ppl holding Emmy’s and other “theatrical” awards in both hands. Of course Tom Cruise got several awards and nominations in Oscar and Golden Globe also, but the thing is, compared to the highly competing theatre culture in Europe, Hollywood looks more like a kids’ playground.
Actually it’s quite arguable whether Count Stauffenberg was really the core of the whole plot. A wise director should try to dig sth from other roles as well. Obviously the director of Valkyrie is not wise enough, so that he put everything on Tom Cruise and expected that he could save the movie. And in the movie sth looks similar: Everyone put everything on Count Stauffenberg, expecting that he could save Germany. And since he is the ONLY hero, you could expect those exciting speech, cool movements, wise quotes, etc., all around him, only around him. Pity for all other actors and their roles – they are simply ignored.
Compared to the big picture, the director seems to put more effort in details like the German officers’ uniforms, the famous Nazi buildings, and the “broken” arm and fingers of Tom Cruise. Yet he definitely forgot the music, which should be quite essential for such a historic topic.
BTW Tom Cruise claimed that he resembles Count Stauffenberg quite much. Well, see it with your own eyes: