[Movie Review] In The Valley Of Elah


Stranger Than Fiction
Political Access
30 Jan 2004
So Paul Haggis created Walker: Texas Ranger. I think this is why so many people hate him. Ever since than he's made a career out of winning Oscars. He won for Crash and Million Dollar Baby, he also nominated for Flags of Our Fathers and he wrote Casino Royale. The man is talented. I went into In The Valley Of Elah knowing it was Paul Haggis and expecting greatness. He doesn't disappoint.

The story is part mystery, part family drama and part war movie. There is very little violence, but the war in Iraq does play a large part in the story. Tommy Lee Jones plays a father investigating the disappearance and subsequent murder of his son, who has just returned home from Iraq. There are elements of a coverup and Tommy gets suspicious almost immediately. With a little [SIZE=-1]sleight of hand [/SIZE]he recovers a rather large piece of evidence and then with the help of a technician begins to piece together his sons story. However nothing seems to make sense, there are no reliable witnesses and there is no motive. So what happened, and more importantly why did it happen? Those are the questions the movie proposes and when the answers are finally all laid out, it makes for an interesting story. The last scene (a flag raising) which is a callback to an earlier scene shows just how much of toll has been taken on the man. I've been purposely vague here, any more description would ruin the whole story. It should be enough to say that Tommy Lee Jones hasn't been this good since The Fugitive and that Charlize Theron can be great even when she isn't made up to look hideous.

Go see it.

4 out of 5 OSNN Stars.

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