a somewhat maligned film that is actually fairly compelling. many of the detractors focus on a few points: cruise’s performance, the varying accents, and the lack of suspense because everyone knows that the plot to kill hitler failed. i’ll work in reverse. there isn’t a lack of suspense or drama in citizen kane just because we know he dies from the outset, there are plenty of ways of building suspense and drama in spite of the audience knowing how things turn out. we all know that our lives will end, but we don’t know how or when, and that’s where the drama of life comes in. it’s a bogus argument that some have used to knock the film.
the varying accents are fine by me. i’ve never really understood doing a film that takes place in germany with german accents. if you’re speaking english with a german accent it’s not true to life. you should either speak german or ignore that aspect altogether. the best example of getting around this artifice is in the hunt for red october, but singer does a good job getting around it in this film as well. it starts with cruise speaking in german in a voiceover and it slowly overlaps with him continuing while speaking in english.
as for cruise’s performance, it’s a subjective element. i thought he was good, not great and not bad. certainly capable. i think his personal life has gotten in the way of an honest appraisal of his performance.B+