I must admit, Valkyrie's release did not excite me all that much. To that end I felt no incredible urge to see it right away, if at all. Still, I stumbled across enough mixed word to give me some hope that I might actually like the film. Unfortunately, as I left the theater, I could not help but think that this is an interesting story but the presentation leaves a lot to be desired. At times it feels way too soap-operatic, more As the Reich Turns and less Kill Hitler. It was a strange experience that could have done more to show that not all Nazis were of the Hitler persuasion. Of course, there have to have been Nazis whose beliefs were considerably different from Hitler's, I just wish there was a little more character behind it.
The movie itself has had quite the journey. Besides the shooting, and the issues that shooting in Germany brought up (the German government did not want to let Cruise shoot there), there was some drama surrounding the release date. The film was originally slated for a summer 2008 release, but the story I heard was that test screenings were awful and the release was moved to February 2009. Then Tropic Thunder came out and Cruise's performance there was funny, well received, and restored some faith in his draw power. This led to the final shift to Christmas Day. Alternatively, I have also heard that reshoots caused the initial delay and a positive screening led to the Christmas push. Interesting in either case, but ultimately it has no impact on the outcome of the film's content, but probably does impact the bottom line.
As for the story, it is based on a true story. I am aware that a number of attempts on Hitler's life took place, but beyond that the details are foreign to me. Valkyrie tells the story of the last (failed, whoops is that a spoiler?) attempt, led by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise).