In between my bite of buttery popcorn, and a quick sip of Sierra Mist, I looked up at the movie screen to see Ã¢â‚¬Å“the following events are true,Ã¢â‚¬Â preceding the title, written across the screen. It was that one little line, among the many, that replayed in my mind throughout all the danger the men of the July 20 assassination plot endured.
My expectation for the movie was simple. There would be an assassination attempt on Adolf HitlerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s life, it would fail, and Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg would die in the end because thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just the Nazi PartyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s style when it comes to people who stand in there way. What I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect from this movie was the intensity throughout the movie. Not only was there intensity in the dangerous scenes, where you were continually questioning if this was the moment when the brave men would perish. But, this movie also portrayed excellently the intensity the people had in there loyalty to Hitler. From the very beginning of the movie, when people are heard chanting their obedience to being loyal and dedicated soldiers to Germany and the Nazis, we see a very different view of Adolf Hitler aside from the one that is so commonly associated with him. Today, his name is usually linked with extreme evil and cruelty, which can make one wonder how his people remained faithful to him. This movie shows how the Nazis were able to maintain such a strong control over such an extensive regime. We can see that HitlerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s power was rooted in the Ã¢â‚¬Å“willing obedienceÃ¢â‚¬Â of the government organizations that reported to him. Also, this movie opens up to us that not all Germans of this time era should be stereotyped, as they are today, with having been in full support of all of the NaziÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s actions. Instead, the movie recognizes that even a select few people, in positions that should have been most loyal of all to the actions of Hitler, felt different from the rest of the majority of the population.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who has an interest in looking beyond the traditional stereotypes of Germany during World War II, and delve deeper into the true inter-workings of the Nazi Party. I think this movie should be seen by people who are willing to recognize that even though there were extreme amounts of evil originating from the Nazi leaders, and Adolf Hitler himself. There were also the good, like Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who resisted that evil and fought for what they believed was morally good. Many citizens were against the harsh actions of the German government during World War II, but they were too frightened (and with good reason) to take any action against it. It is the bravery in the men who took part in the July 20 assassinations plot of Adolf Hitler that should be noted for future generations, and I am very pleased with the way that is portrayed to audiences in the movie Valkyrie.
The Bells toll, red and white crosses appear on the screen, and I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t decide whether I was nervous or anxious for what I was about to see. My father sitting next to me offered me his coat saying that when seeing a war movie its better to be warm because it reminds you that you are here, and not in the movie. Then, the opening seen starts. It is winter, 1983, in Harlem, New York. A man with a distinct accent walks up to the counter of the post office asking to buy some stamps. The recognition on his face is not nearly as frightening as of the manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s behind the counter. My heart stops as the man behind the counter reaches behind his back, reappears with a gun, and shoots the other man in the chest. Blood sprayed all over the white marble, and I had a feeling this wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be the last of it. As the story progresses, we learn that the man behind the counterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s name is Hector Negron, who fought in the 92nd Infantry Divisions. The most shocking discovery came when the detectives and the journalist found the head of a priceless statue. And so, as quickly as it came, we leave the 80Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s for a bloodier time era that will seem to dominate the screen for the next hour and a half.
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want this to be a big spoiler, so I will mention some deep thinking points the movie made. First and foremost, was the whole idea of good verses evil in this movie. We enter the movie seeing a group of black soldiers trudging through a field in the Tuscan country side. They are soon under attack by the Germans, and my stomach lurches as I see the number of American soldiers who are shot down by the rows. The taste of bile saturates my mouth as I see the stream run red, literally with blood. Yet, my heart lurches with joy as we see four soldiers survive the attack. Instead of turning back as many of us would have done, honor overtakes their fear as they willingly cross the stream towards the German enemies. Compassion is shown also by these soldiers when they find a young, sick boy, and take him to the nearest village where they end up fighting, and (all but one) dying for American freedom and democracy.
However, this seemingly heroic movie that seems destined for a happy ending, takes a drastic turn in a different direction. This is no Ã¢â‚¬Å“band of brothersÃ¢â‚¬Â where good overcomes evil. From the very first scene to the last, in the WWII era, we are clearly shown the horrors of racism, when the Germans attempt to use this against the Americans. Also, Spike Lee does an amazing job at looking at the idea of good verses bad during this war, and the role propaganda has played. Throughout the war, the government has used propaganda as a way to create the enemy as terrorists. We see this when the American soldiers tear down the German propaganda describing Americans as monsters. We come to believe that the enemyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s only goals and satisfaction in this war is the killing of our soldiers. Thus, this false image is created that all of the enemy are the purest and most dreaded type of evil. This is why we find it justifiable when we shoot and kill one of their soldiers, because Ã¢â‚¬Å“if we hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t, they would have done the same to us.Ã¢â‚¬Â And, if God forbid they ever shoot one of our soldiers, then they actually enjoyed doing it and are, as I already mentioned, the most extremist form of evil. However, what we fail to realize, is that they are fighting for the same reasons we are. They are ordered to fight; they wish to protect their families, homes, and honor; and if they do not we will destroy them. This is shown to us in the movie, when the German soldier risks, and ends up loosing, his life to help Angelo and his brother escape from the massacre of the people of St. Anna. The German soldier said that Angelo reminds him of his little brother. Through this we can see that the enemy is human just like us, and even though there is some evil acts (I can guarantee that when you see the slaughtering of children, mothers, and the elders of the village, you will feel as sick as I did.) we should not let this overshadow the fact that good can exists on both sides if we allow ourselves to acknowledge it. Another part in the movie, where it shows just how alike we are, is when everyone says the same prayer in their own language. This represents that we (the Germans, Americans, and Italians townspeople) are all united and alike in many ways, no matter how hard we try to fight it.