Monday, August 1, 2011

In The Valley Of Elah (2007)

In The Valley Of Haggis

- In The Valley of Elah (2007) has the perfect mix of script, performances, and cinematography to make the leap into the land of mediocrity.

Most of the actors do a good job however - Tommy Lee Jones is great in this film with a very big and very quiet performance as Hank Deerfield, a Vietnam vet whose son goes missing after coming home from a tour in Iraq. Susan Sarandon gives a very emotional performance as Joan Deerfield and Jason Patric also lends his acting talents to the screen. Charlize Theron is especially excellent in her role as Det. Emily Sanders, giving a performance unlike any we have seen from her before. Theron continuously  surprises me with each new role.

Still, In The Valley Of Elah is not a very good movie. First of all, there are some weak members of the cast. Josh Brolin, after a superb performance in No Country For Old Men (2007), keeps on playing the same jerk authority figures over and over in each new movie - and it is getting old. In addition to Brolin, the actors who are called upon to portray a soldier do not perform at a particularly high level.

The look of In The Valley Of Elah is also bland - my heart sank when I saw the name "Roger Deakins" under the words "Director of Photography" in the film's end credits. This is the work of the man who orchestrated Barton Fink (1991), The Man Who Wasn't There (2001), and The Shawshank Redemption (1994)? What happened to the master? Well, I still have faith in the man - until next time Rog.

The films story, for me, started out very interesting but then becomes not so interesting towards the middle and then ends abruptly. Also the film's message, while having a good point, is very preachy and is another example of Hollywood seeing things only in black and white while neglecting the gray.

CBC Rating: 5/10

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