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Cruise's 'Valkyrie' Performance Called "Laughable"

Seeing a bunch of trailers and clips for Bryan Singer's new film, Valkyrie, I was kind of afraid of this reaction. As always, we caution that it's just one opinion, not a consensus, and you can't always put a lot of stock in the first word on a movie. But...

The Scoop at MSNBC cites a source that has seen the film and says it's pretty much a failure, mostly thanks to Tom Cruise. We wondered how it would play, Cruise leading a cast of RADA-trained thespians as the only major player sticking out like a sore thumb by not even attempting an English accent like his cast mates. But there is, according to the story, more wrong with it than just that. “The film just isn’t a thriller at all,” said the source. “It’s a bunch of white guys in Nazi uniforms. It’s too bad.

"And Tom doesn’t speak with a German accent — though they did add a voiceover of him speaking German to the beginning of the film. Still, it’s as if he could say ‘I complete you’ at any time. This is not his Oscar moment.”

I believe the quote is "You complete me," but whatever. I can see that about Cruise, though. I remember watching The Last Samurai thinking that no matter how hard he tried - and his effort was clearly and distractingly visible - it was still just Tom Cruise, not an actor as a character. It wasn't John Wayne as Genghis Khan obvious, but if you watch the ease of Ken Watanabe in that film and compare it to how hard Cruise acts in every scene, you get the picture.

There is also, apparently, a moment at which Cruise’s character, Claus Von Stauffenberg, has to perform the institutional Nazi salute, the ol' Heil Hitler. “It’s an unsettling scene but you almost start to laugh," reports MSNBC's source. "His character is resisting it but you never forget it’s Tom Cruise saying ‘Heil Hitler.’ It’s funny and shocking at the same time.”

See, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Some actors can disappear entirely, like Guy Pearce. With other actors, you're aware it's them the whole time but they're still natural enough that you never question it. And then there's Tom Cruise, who come across like Tom Cruise most of the time, no matter what the character calls for.

I hope it's not as dire as the source makes it sound. I think a Samurai-like Cruise could bury a movie like this, especially because of the great actors in the ensemble who by definition don't have enough to do to ultimately save it. That'd be a damn shame, because it's a fantastic story and the cinematography and production design, two key elements of period pieces like this, are on par with the rest of the cast.


Reader Comments (9)

Well, you know that Tom Cruise is the only one who can -really- help.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLengthy Johnson

Well when you take a war film and give it to the most liberal news in the world and probably would support the third reich if it was around today, this is what you get from MSNBC.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon

this is bullshit. movie plays through the roof. i have seen it. la times has seen it. ny times, ew, usa today have all seen it. and it is a good movie. why are you forwarding the tired old point of view that the film is not good. that bitch at msnbc is just a hater.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterclaus

Tom Cruise in every movie he's been done in the last 10 years:


Even his cameo in Tropic Thunder smacked of it. It's like being cool. If you have to work at it...

Thursday, November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEmo

I won't criticize this movie until after I have seen it. I'm not a Cruise-hater. Nor am I super impressed with his acting abilities. If the movie keeps me interested, involved through-out its running time, I will consider it a success.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterD

I think it is terrible that this movie is being criticized before it even comes out. It looks like an intriguing movie with or without Cruise.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermana

How can someone pan a movie they have not seen?

Friday, November 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPL

When is Hollywood going to wake up and realize that director Bryan Singer is a talentless filmmaker who is lost outside the world of empty comic-book stories. With Mcquarrie by his side he might as well throw i the towel for good. Singer's movies ALL suck. The Usual Suspects doesn't hold up and only ever did for a generation of idiots who weren't smart enough to see all the holes. The academy of morons gave it an Oscar for best screenplay, so you know it is crap.

Saturday, November 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJTC

A honest attempt by Singer, to make a quality movie with an ensemble of unmeasured talent. Even with a great supporting cast, and had he had been given an Oscar worthy script, Valkyrie would still be a colossal failure. Tom cruise has to be told to go back to acting school, and learn how not to act like....Tom Cruise. Hopefully someone can extract the passion he displays when he is trying to convince America, and the world, that he either loves Katie or, that he doesn't love boys, and bring that to the silver screen. Oh I forgot his performance on Oprah was piss poor as well. People really need to go back and look at his past roles (Rainman, Last Samurai ), and see that all he plays is Tom Cruise!., and what a boring character he is. Hey Tom why don't you sit down and watch some real actors....C.Bale, J.Pheonix, G.Clooney, B.Pitt, S.Penn, DiCaprio, R.Fiennes. Not only can they act , they're also real and likeable!. I waited over 10 years to see this film made, only to see Cruise ruin it with his panned marginal performance, made only more obvious by the SUPPERIOR talent surrounding him. Thank you Mr.Singer for tryimg.

Thursday, January 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdrew

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