In The Valley of Elah
In the Valley of Elah is an interesting movie, on the one hand it has the talents of Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Sunsan Saranson driving a story written and directed by Crash’s Paul Haggis. It has within it a powerful story about love, dedication and the unwavering search for truth. On the other hand however, it gets a little preachy in places and the ending is a little too contrived and over simplified.
Jones plays Hank Deerfield, and ex military investigator whose son, Mike has gone AWOL 3 days after returning from Iraq. Hank knows something can’t be right so travels down to assist everyone in finding his son. Finding his son soon turns into a battle to discover a truth that the army it seems would prefer to be left unknown.
It’s Tommy Lee Jones who drives this movie, with the help of a very capable supporting cast – to the extend that if it didn’t have someone of his caliber driving it, the movie would simply fall apart at the seems.
In The Vallet of Elah has a very caustic anti war message, it’s subtle in some places, but preached with a dollop of cheese in others, and the contrived ending just about ruins the whole movie. It’s not that the ending is implausible, its just that the entire move has been leading the viewer down this path of a huge conspiracy theory, and ends up delivering a simple answer. It’s almost as if Haggis didn’t quite know how to pull off an explosive and convincing ending, so chose a quick and easy way out.
Elah is worth watching for the performance and most of the story, the ending is only a let down if you get sucked into expecting something larger than life at the end.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: R16 – Restricted to persons 16 years and over.
Release Date: November 26th, 2008
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, Susan Sarandon, Jason Patric, James Franco, Barry Corbin, Josh Brolin
Length (Minutes): 116
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Year of Original Release: 2007
Studio: Sony Pictures
Director: Haggis, Paul