In The Valley Of Elah


(out of 5)

Ex-army sergeant  gets a phone call informing him that his son, just returned from service in Iraq, has disappeared from his army base and has been missing for days. Jones, immediately knowing something is wrong, travels two days across states to investigate his son’s disappearance himself, devastated when he arrives and learns from a local police officer () that his son’s mutilated remains have been found in a sparse country field. From there the journey becomes about solving a murder, not an easy task given his personal involvement in the matter. A fascinating story and fine performances (especially Jones, who suffers nobly with incredible flair) make for an interesting, deeply felt film that keeps you interested–with Paul Haggis at the helm, however, it includes a bit too much of his preachy flavour (guess what: war is hell, who knew?!) to really hit classic status, particularly in the last third where the message is painfully overstated.  is underused as Jones’s wife, while Theron plays burned out with exceptional intensity.

Warner Independent Pictures, NALA Films, Summit Entertainment, Samuels Media, Blackfriars Bridge Films

USA, 2007

Directed by

Story by , Paul Haggis, Screenplay by Paul Haggis

Cinematography by

Produced by , Paul Haggis, , ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 2007

Toronto International Film Festival 2007


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