In the Valley of ElahDirector: Paul Haggis
When a model soldier who recently returned to the U.S. from the front lines of Iraq goes AWOL, his veteran father enlists the aid of a dedicated police detective in seeking out his son's true fate in director/screenwriter Paul Haggis' follow up to the Oscar-winning 2004 indie-hit Crash. Mike Deerfield (Jonathan Tucker) has served his country faithfully, and now the time has come for him to return home to the United States. Shortly after returning, however, Mike simply vanishes without a trace. Mike's father, Hank (Tommy Lee Jones), is a former MP from the Vietnam era, and quickly recruits Detective Emily Sanders (Charlize Theron) to assist him in his search for the missing soldier. While it remains to be seen whether Hank will ever find his missing son, he gets quickly enmeshed in a tangled web of intrigue, cover-ups, and murder, all related to the Iraqi conflict. The drama thus highlights the profoundly personal toll combat takes on soldiers, while striking at the very heart of the American experience in Iraq. Inspired by a Playboy Magazine article written by Mark Boal, Haggis's fictionalized version of the actual events co-stars Jason Patrick, Susan Sarandon, James Franco, and Josh Brolin.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Warner Home Video
- [Wide Screen]
- [Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
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Cast & Crew
|Tommy Lee Jones||Hank Deerfield|
|Charlize Theron||Det. Emily Sanders|
|Jason Patric||Lt. Kirklander|
|Susan Sarandon||Joan Deerfield|
|James Franco||Sgt. Dan Carnelli|
|Barry Corbin||Arnold Bickman|
|Josh Brolin||Chief Buckwald|
|Wes Chatham||Cpl. Steve Penning|
|Jake McLaughlin||Spc. Gordon Bonner|
|Mehcad Brooks||Specialist Ennis Long|
|Jonathan Tucker||Mike Deerfield|
|Victor Wolf||Private Robert Ortiz|
|Chris Browning||Checker Box Bartender|
|Paul Haggis||Director,Original Story,Producer,Screenwriter|
|Artist Robinson||Asst. Director|
|Emilio Diez Barroso||Executive Producer|
|Laurence Bennett||Production Designer|
|Mark Boal||Original Story|
|Erik Feig||Executive Producer|
|Sarah Halley Finn||Casting|
|David Garrett||Executive Producer|
|Scott Martin Gershin||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Gregory Gettas||Associate Producer|
|Bob Hayward||Executive Producer|
|James Holt||Executive Producer|
|Gregory Scott Hooper||Art Director|
|Mark Isham||Score Composer|
|Lisa Jensen||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Darlene Caamano Loquet||Producer|
|James Oberlander||Set Decoration/Design|
|William Sarokin||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Stan Wlodkowski||Executive Producer|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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As this country continues to struggle with the tragedies inflicted upon all who are being singed and scorched by the Iraq War (and that includes every citizen of this country, whether directly or indirectly), films addressing this war are wither avoided by the theatrical audiences or cause flare reactions of judgment. Into this milieu writer (with Mark Boal) and director Paul Haggis places this painful examination of the effects and aftershocks of war in the persona of a father whose only son is reported as 'missing' after he has returned from his tour of duty in Iraq. By keeping the story focused on the effect of the devastation on one man Haggis makes his point all the more clear, and the result is one of the finest documents of the insanity of war that has been released in some years. Hank Deerfield (Tommy Lee Jones) has served in the military and encouraged both his sons to serve their country (much against the emotional reaction of his wife Joan - Susan Sarandon): his older son is killed in a helicopter crash and his younger son, recently returned from a year's duty in Iraq, is reported as missing. Hank drives to the base where his son was stationed, learns of his son's death 'by friendly fire' at home, and tries t enlist the help of the military to investigate the affair without success. He encounters a sullen police detective Emily Sanders (Charlize Theron) who appears bruised by life in general and by her prejudiced co-workers and military men in particular. Gradually Emily sides with the grieving Hank to explore the horrid details of Hank's son's brutal murder, dismemberment and burning. Despite endless barriers of red tape and military secrecy lead by Lt. Kirklander (Jason Patric) both Emily and Hank slowly piece together the truth, using email videos Hank's son had sent him from Iraq, interviews with Hank's son's fellow soldiers, and examination of the body parts of Hank's son. Once the truth is out the effects on all concerned reveal the inevitable permanent scars of war on all concerned. Yet it is the strength of character as revealed in Hank's responses that drive home the pungent message of this difficult film. Tommy Lee Jones gives the most subtle performance of his fine career as the grieving yet stoic Hank. Charlize Theron once again proves that she can disappear into a demanding role like few other actresses. Susan Sarandon, Jason Patric, James Franco (in a tiny but pivotal role), Josh Brolin, Frances Fisher (in a cameo that is very impressive), and all the young men who play the soldiers involved in the investigation are superb. The film pulls no punches, yet it also refrains from sensationalizing events - as though Haggis realized that the truth was viciously cruel enough without embellishment. Special mention should be paid to the fine musical score by Mark Isham, a pulsating, minimalist background that heightens the effect of the film. This may be a difficult film to watch but it is a necessary experience if we are to constantly re-evaluate our philosophy of war and intervention. Grady Harp
Tommy Lee Jones is superb in this role of not only a father, but a military veteran. He was in the Military Police. He understood serving in a hostile environment and had the passion of a father wanting answers.
For the true Tommy Lee fan. He always has at least one great line in all of his roles. In this role he has numerous great lines. The directing and the outstanding cast blend together so beautifully. This movie is flawless!
This movie was outstanding. It portrays the negative sides of war that exist way beyond the battlefield. The acting was flawless, Tommy Lee Jones was superb. Unless you have served in the military (I have not), no one really knows what the troops go through. This film attempts to show the brutality of war, and what our troops face while serving our country. This is a "must see" film.
I have been waiting for the day when this movie comes out on DVD. The day is here! Out of all the movies I have seen this year this one stood out for me. The acting is flawless. I believe Tommy Lee Jones should win the best actor award. After seeing Susan Sarandon in the phone and the morgue scene and not being nominated ... it is an injustice. I am going to B&N right now to buy this great film.
An interwoven tale with many plots that are complicated and brusquely explored in a manner palatable to the masses in understanding the plight of verterans' families. It is a beautiful tale of a father's love against the elephantine process of bureaucracy.
'In the Valley of Elah' could have made an excellent suspense film with a great cast of actors--Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, the relatively unknown name but familiar face Wayne Duvall. Based on actual events, a military veteran father seeks answers from both military and civilian police after his active military son vanishes, then is found murdered and mutilated in a way consistent with drug trafficking. Was he involved with narcotics, or trafficking? This film could have stayed on the suspense track, yet veered into anti-war, and, finally, the U S is a hopelessly in distress country message at the end, with its flag shamelessly defaced. Incidentally, I find it ironic that the producer even acknowledged a story out of the Judeo Christian Bible as contributing to the film's title, as blame America first types typically have disdain for the Bible and Christians. I very recently visited an Arab nation. If said producer or any cast members feel they would have a much better time living there than here, I would be more than happy to pay for their tickets.