Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Valkyrie - Tom Cruise's Real Risky Business

(Based on the news print at

Tom Likes to take risks.

"Anything that's tough to do, I think, ends up being the most rewarding."

His house is adorned with a collection of bikes and airplanes, and he enjoys riding and flying them, even though some are perilous.

With Valkyrie, Cruise also takes risks, but it’s not risk for risk, it’s risk because he really feels for the movie:

"You have to take chances, challenge yourself," Cruise says, patting the propeller of the P-51, which is emblazoned with "Kiss Me Kate" on the nose. "You can't take movies because you think they're going to be huge hits."

That’s a thing I admire in him, in anyone. Do things because you feel it’s right, not necessarily aimed at results, even if the whole world is against you. Whatever the outcome, you’ll be a winner. You may win or lose your “external” bet, but even if you lose it, you will always have the inner satisfaction and rewards that you did the right thing. So whatever the outcome, you already won your "internal" bet, the most important of both.

That’s what happened to the hero of the film, by the way, and that’s what makes his grandeur. He did not succeed to kill Hitler, but what he did lives down history because he had the guts to at least try.

With Valkyrie, though, Cruise is really pushing it. There is an accumulation of factors that makes it indeed very risky business, and if he can pull that one, he can pull out anything:

  1. Cruise couch jumping reputation, boosted by Internet activists who object to his adhesion and promotion of Scientology.
  2. The fact that Cruise, a Scientologist, enacts the role of a German hero, and Scientology had more than its share of conflict with the German governement.
  3. The fact that Cruise plays a Nazi, with a eye patch, which projects a somber image, even if the man is a hero.
  4. The fact that unlike the Titanic, that story is not one that is generally known, and people may not be interested at the outset
  5. More importantly, the fact that the film is scheduled to come on the day after Christmas. My guess is that people on that day would like to see an uplifting movie, not a somber conspiracy – plus the film is competing with a host of other films all seeking to vie a holiday family outing audience

Risky business indeed…