January 2, 2008

I’ve never been a Tom Cruise fan. Nor have I understood the popularity of director Bryan Singer. To me, psychological truth of character is of an extremely high regard, and Singer has always skirted this maxim with a wide-girth, putting spectacle before verisimilitude. So VALKYRIE was a highly unlikely choice for my New Year’s Day movie, but something compelled me to see it. Perhaps I’ve come to have a slightly higher regard for Cruise the person because of the personal bashings he’s taken recently, particularly his being fired by his studio after being a money-maker for decades. How do you fire a legend? Isn’t that what 20th Century Fox did to Marilyn? Money, apparently, is no respecter of anything. And Tom Cruise’s response was to say, “F**k You,” thereby gaining a modicum of my respect.

In fact, I was surprised I liked VALKYRIE as much as I did. It builds on the strength of the characters propelling the story. Never mind that it’s a Disney-Does-World War II take on certain events. Never mind that it often feels like Steven Spielberg crossed with Phantom of the Opera. The events, as overblown as they occasionally are, hold an important truth: not all Germans are evil. After decades of Hollywood telling us they are, that might be a revelation to some. In another instance, it might be that not all Palestinians are terrorists. Or not all whites are racist. Or not all Americans believe might makes right. Extrapolate as you wish. Look closely enough and you will find yourself on the list, wishing for someone to speak the truth about you, too.

Between the two poles of CASABLANCA and CABARET, it seemed for years that Germany’s reputation as the epitome of all-consuming evil might never change. With the recent film THE GOOD GERMAN and now VALKYRIE, it’s possible that our understanding of the events of the past might deepen, and something might be redeemed that was deserving of not just our respect, but our admiration as well.

No comments:


All materials on this website copyright 2007 Design by Transform Interactive .\\edia