IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
DECEMBER 26, 2013

Heartbreakingly real, the film “In The Valley Of Elah” tells the story of a veteran father looking for his AWOL son after his return from Iraq. Paul Haggis, best known for his directing in “Crash” delivers yet another emotionally charged drama, where every clue and every interview with a suspect leads the characters further and further down a rabbit hole, no closer to finding out what happened. Tommy Lee Jones plays the veteran father, with his cold, stern glare, following in the footsteps of other greats who played parts like this, most notably Jack Nicholson in “The Pledge.” Both bring about very stoic performances, but both command their roles and both authentically come across like the men that they play, deliberate and focused, with emotions running deep. Charlize Theron plays the local police detective but gets pigeonholed into the lowly female position in a department full of men who have zero respect for her, a role she often finds herself in. Despite this, she plays off Jones exceptionally and gives the film enough star power to keep it feeling fresh, instead of dated. The conclusion of “In The Valley Of Elah” is a slow burn, nothing heightened, but wholly chilling and a true testament to the position this film takes on the war in Iraq and war in general. The result is a film that sits with you long after the credits and the imagery have faded.

RELEASE DATE
September 14, 2007

DIRECTOR
Paul Haggis

WRITTEN BY
Paul Haggis
Mark Boal (story)

STUDIO
Warner Independent Pictures

R
(for violent and disturbing content, language and some sexuality/nudity)

CRIME
DRAMA
MYSTERY

121 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Roger Deakins

COMPOSER
Mark Isham

EDITOR
Jo Francis

CAST
Tommy Lee Jones
Charlize Theron
Jason Patric
Susan Sarandon
James Franco
Josh Brolin
Jake McLaughlin
Jonathan Tucker

PRODUCED BY
Patrick Wachsberger
Steven Samuels
Darlene Caamaño Loquet
Paul Haggis
Laurence Becsey

BUDGET
$23 million

Leave a Reply