The one principal that you walk away with above any other after viewing director Paul Haggis’s In the Valley of Elah, is that our army soldiers [if not marines and navy as well] do some despicable things. Even the kid that you’re left feeling sorry for, the son who died, is no saint. The army is just a terrible unit that has deplorable leadership and command. These men are doing completely disgraceful and immoral things while command sits back and turns their eyes away.
The movie is moving in its simplicity. It’s a murder mystery and a father’s attempt at finding out what really happened to his son. It’s emotional and enlightening in a very good way. Paul Haggis brings to light some very important issues in a time when war is at the fore front of the issues facing our government. Some strong opinions are issued, namely one by one of the soldiers that in his opinion Iraq should just be nuked and done away with.
The acting and screenplay is phenomenal. Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron do some of their best work to date while Susan Sarandon in a small role is also wonderful. Do yourself a favor and go see this movie and be enlightened to the travesties that are done by our own sons and brothers — perhaps even one happening right now as you read this.
**** (4 stars)