Valkyrie – review

Serviceable Nazi thriller that lacks the punch to be anything more than just that serviceable. Tom Cruise leads, and is miscast. He’s not a bad actor – far from it – but in an (at least formally) intense historical drama surrounded by a who’s who of crack-British character actors, he feels sorely out of place. Cruise is a suave physical performer, not an actor you hire to suggest emotional depths – in the same way you wouldn’t cast Tom Hanks as Ethan Hunt. That said, the Brits haven’t got much to get their teeth into either. Two flaws symptomatic of a film that never gets under the skin of its proponents, and of a direction lacking in subtext. Gripping wartime conspiracy, straightforward Hollywood jaunt.

B

Rain Man – review

An emotional climax redeems the narrative’s general inertia, elevating an average character drama into a pretty good one. That peak is so even-handed with the autism debate, so tactful with its bittersweet revelation, that we understand both sides when the verdict arrives. For once, society gets it right for each – itself a credit to the group efforts of the production team. Hans Zimmer’s unbearable 80s score notwithstanding.

B+