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A big-budget, all-star history lesson.

DURING the Second World War, the spectre of Hitler's army loomed large across Europe, forcing neighbours to take sides in the wake of Nazi atrocities.

While Allied forces fought to repel the German onslaught, another battle was raging within the Fuhrer's own officer corps; an uprising of men and women, loyal to their country, determined to assassinate Hitler and overthrow the Nazi regime.

Singer's controversial war opus relates the final attempt on the German leader's life before his suicide in April 1945.

Crucially, we know Hitler survives this attempt on his life so there is an absence of tension from the opening, but the details of how close it came to success, makes for a gripping watch.

The picture opens in the deserts of Tunisia where Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise) rails in his diary, "Hitler is not only the archenemy of the entire world but the archenemy of Germany. A change must be made..."

Badly injured in a bombing run by British fighter planes, Claus is recruited by the Resistance to spearhead the latest assassination attempt.

Unfortunately Valkyrie is rather a plodding history lesson. A couple of well-executed action sequences quicken the pulse but for the most part, it ambles along without any sense of urgency.

For such a big-budget film with such a great cast and a gripping story there is just not enough happening. *****

VALKYRIE (12A)

STARS: Tom Cruise, Billy Nighy,

Tom Wilkinson, Terence Stamp,

Eddie Izzard, Kenneth Branagh

DIRECTOR: Bryan Singer.

DIRECTOR: Peter Berg.

CAPTION(S):

TRUE-LIFE TALE... Tom Cruise starring in controversial thriller Valkyrie (12A).
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 23, 2009
Words:260
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