In "Valkyrie" - the fact-based movie from director Bryan Singer - Tom Cruise plays Claus von Stauffenberg, the real-life German Colonel who led the titular operation to assassinate Hitler.
Tom Cruise speaks a few lines of subtitled German before falling back on English, signalling Mr. Singer's lack of confidence in his star's ability to do an accent. From then on, each cast member is given leave to use whatever accent they brought to work that day. Mr. Singer's loose handling of the period and Mr. Cruise's undeniable modernity make the film distractingly anachronistic.
Still, "Valkyrie" is a sturdy, if less than fully engaging, thriller. The script, by Mr. Singer's "Usual Suspects" buddy Christopher McQuarrie, and newcomer Nathan Alexander, is written with ticking-clock precision. And though the film's outcome is prescribed from the start (the mission, after all, didn't succeed), there are enough moments of intriguing near-misses to keep the proceedings suspenseful.
Valkyrie may not be awards bait but it is a solid, at times gripping, thriller that wrings every ounce of drama out of what is, at heart, a pulsating tale of the courage and idealism of some undone by the cowardice and politics of others.