In the Valley of Elah

In the Valley of Elah

DVD - 2008
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Hank, a retired Sergeant with the Military Police, receives a call informing him that his youngest son, Mike, has gone AWOL. He thought his son was in Iraq, but is informed that Mike returned stateside four days ago with his platoon. When he calls his son's cell phone and gets voice mail, he drives to Fort Rudd and begins to make inquiries, but with each inquiry he comes to a dead end. Then a body is found, dismembered and burned beyond recognition and is identified as Mike. Hank tries to find out what happened, but continues to encounter hurdles. Yet he is persistent, uncovering things no one wants to hear, including himself.


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May 20, 2017

Rated 7/10.

May 16, 2017

The kiss of death for any film occurs when the director, fearing their audience is too dense to get “the message”, highlights it, underlines it, and then proceeds to shout it out from every frame. Canadian Paul Haggis did this in 2004’s abysmally pretentious Academy award-winner (OMG!) Crash, and now with Elah he pontificates on the War in Iraq with stars ’n stripes all around and an orchestra driven to exhaustion. As a straight-up missing persons mystery "Elah" has far too many fortunate coincidences to be more than mildly intriguing yet it’s watchable enough given Jones’ Oscar-nominated performance as a man torn between military sensibility and paternal guilt and Susan Sarandon’s star turn as his suffering wife. But when Haggis tries to delve into everything from PTSD to the inherent immorality of war—with a bit of sexual harassment thrown in just to cover all the bases—it turns into a sanctimonious soapbox homily determined to leave everyone with a black eye: the military, the government (Dubya drones on in background news broadcasts), and civilians alike for the evils in Iraq seem to find their counterpoint in the moral apathy back home (cue strip clubs and Mexican drug dealers). Films such as "The Hurt Locker" and Denmark’s "A War" managed to present war as both a physical battlefield and a psychological space. In "Elah", Haggis presents an overly adorned knee-jerk response to a much deeper problem and he does so with contrived pathos and one very tiresome biblical metaphor. That patronizing final scene alone is enough to make Spielberg weep.

Oct 18, 2014

You can't expect a person to go to war and not have consequences when they've witnessed so much brutality. The mother was against her son going because she had already lost one, but like she told her husband, he wouldn't have been able to be a man in this house if he hadn't gone. Unfortunately that's true; just because the father went he expected his sons to go also.

Jun 19, 2013

Well worth the watch.

professortjbookworm12 May 06, 2013

A very moving and riveting story. This must not be ignored!

Sep 09, 2012

This is a well-acted, painful movie about the way war can affect the lives of soldiers and their families. It is a serious indictment against war in general, and more specifically an indictment against the effect of the war in Iraq on the American soldiers engaged there. Based on a true story.

Jul 11, 2011

Dark movie about the damage war can bring even back home.

Jun 13, 2011

Another great "little" movie with alot of heart.Expected another typical boring Tommy Lee Jones - few words,vacuous stare- performance but surprised at heartfelt believable performance.Movie starts small but leaves us with lesson that the 1st casuality of war is our Humanity & what we "owe" our returning soldiers.

Dec 26, 2010

good film -- thought provoking

May 19, 2009

Decent movie that shows the psychological damage that war can do to the soldiers. Left with the feeling it was a missed opportunity for a really good film.

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Mar 29, 2009

Susann thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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