In the Valley of ElahSeptember 28, 2007
A retired military investigator works with a police detective to uncover the truth behind his son's disappearance following his return from a tour of duty in Iraq.
Release Year: 2007
Rating: 7.3/10 (35,966 voted)
Critic's Score: 65/100
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, Jonathan Tucker
In Monroe, Tennessee, Hank Deerfield, an aging warrior, gets a call that his son, just back from 18 months' fighting in Iraq, is missing from his base. Hank drives to Fort Rudd, New Mexico, to search. Within a day, the charred and dismembered body of his son is found on the outskirts of town. Deerfield pushes himself into the investigation, marked by jurisdictional antagonism between the Army and local police. Working mostly with a new detective, Emily Sanders, Hank seems to close in on what happened. Major smuggling? A drug deal gone awry? Credit card slips, some photographs, and video clips from Iraq may hold the key. If Hank gets to the truth, what will it tell him?
Writers: Paul Haggis, Mark Boal
Tommy Lee Jones
Det. Emily Sanders
Sgt. Dan Carnelli
Corporal Steve Penning
Spc. Gordon Bonner
Spc. Ennis Long
Private Robert Ortiez
One Father's Fight To Find The Truth.
Release Date: 28 September 2007
Filming Locations: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Opening Weekend: $133,557
(16 September 2007)
(29 March 2009)
Did You Know?
According to Paul Haggis, Clint Eastwood helped get this film greenlight.
The opening subtitle says that the Deerfields live in "Munro, Tennessee", but the address on the side of Hank's truck says "Munroe, Tennessee".
Spc. Gordon Bonner:
What are you doing? Get back in the fucking vehicle man! Mike, get back in the fucking vehicle. Let's go, Mike, now!
Why do most critics attack this film for being heavy-handed?
Only Roger Ebert and the reviewer for Rolling Stone seem to see the
truth here: this film is slow and elegiac because it deals with heavy
matters, but it is never boring, not if you understand the situation
and the depth of feelings being explored. It's as if reviewers don't
get it because they didn't really feel what the film is saying. Saying
that there have been dozens of films about how war ruins men so it's a
cliché, and that this one is too dreary and slow means that a person
has stopped feeling for what is really hurtful, is even in denial. And
that's the theme of this film: what happens when we lose touch with
what's painful and don't care any more. The film is restrained but
powerful, which is why it has such a strong effect.
Jones is wonderfully grim, with a face like a road map, as he explores
what happened to his son. Charlize Theron is beautiful even though she
is playing a woman who is forced to act as non-sexy as possible to get
on in her job in a male police force. Susan Sarandon is not, as some
critic said, "underused"; she gives a performance that is all the more
powerful because it is restrained. This movie should be a must see for
all who believe that the Iraq war should continue until there is an
honorable time for America to leave. That time is already passed.