Mission: Impossible 4, this is not! While it's slightly more intriguing than Tom Cruise's last serious movie, Lions for Lambs (2007), ultimately, I still found it to be quite dull.
Yes, this is based on a true story, so, what happens in it is what happens, but the film loses its edge and tension after the first half-hour.
Tom Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, the man who attempts to assassinate Hitler and lead a coup against the Nazi government. Apparently, there were several attempts to assassinate Hitler from those within. Stauffenberg's attempt was the last and probably the boldest.
Basically, they attempted to sneak secret bombs into Hitler's secluded, military headquarters, known as the Wolf's Lair. Those who are past high school know that these efforts obviously didn't work. So, from the get-go, we know that this operation is a failure. The question becomes how does this well-telegraphed and well-choreographed plan go down in defeat.
How the strands unfurl in this loosely woven tapestry become fairly obvious. You can see it coming a mile away. You just wait for the other shoe to drop and when it does, all you can do is shake your head.
The storytelling and the characters, for the most part, are dry. Cruise's early pathos and the requisite family shots aren't enough. You feel as if Cruise, along with some of the other actors, is just going through the motions, marching from scene to scene, stiffly with no real nuance.
It's a shame because the cast is a great one. From Kenneth Branaugh to Tom Wilkinson, the talent is there. It's just that they're trapped in this thing.
I feel like the film's intention to prove that not all Germans were bad was the lamest of reasons to make this film. It's a nice testament to the German Resistance movement, but I feel like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas accomplished that goal more than this does.
Two Stars out of Five
PG-13 for violence and language
Running Time: 2 hrs.