In the Valley of Elah

It wasn’t a surprise to see a story with so many layers. Paul Haggis did that in Crash, he has done it again. Only this time the story isn’t in deferred parallel. It is as linear as it can be.

I didn’t choose to see the movie for Paul Haggis, but for three other reasons. Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon. How can you miss a movie like that? You hardly get a film when the entire star-cast is one that you like. There has to be a Johnny Depp or a Tom Cruise somewhere. A John Abraham or an Aishwarya Rai. That ruins the movie, even if the other star-cast is just fine.

In the Valley of Elah is a good film. I refrain from any superlatives for a reason. The greatness of something has to be discovered in your own and personal manner. No one can tell you what is great. Also the film is not about the Iraq war. Although, you are easily pardoned if you think so. Also the film is not about the United States. Although, you are easily pardoned if you think so. It is a presentation of a world horribly gone wrong. And you get to see the wrong-ness of it all from many eyes, at different times, in different ways. Sometimes you see how the wrong things aren’t wrong, and you see how wrong that is. And then you get to see it with your eyes. Only, of course, if you close your eyes.

Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon excel in the movie. (Even if someone disagrees with me about Susan). The cinematography is excellent, doesn’t take the attention away from the story. No complicated camera work, desaturated just enough with proper play of light and shadow. The very very small moments in the movie are the ones that hold the story together. The very very small moments in the movie are the ones that are easily missed.

This is what I like about film-making.


14 thoughts on “In the Valley of Elah

  1. passionate!

    now i know what to do with my evening. also enjoyed michael clayton immensely. tempted to do a critique a la gaiza.

    i cant concentrate on work anymore. dang!


  2. I don’t usually like seeing movies until I’ve read and heard many things about them. And even still, I’m stubborn about the exact moment when I’m ready to see it. However, I do now want to see this movie, because of your post.


  3. You have got me curious.

    I think I now understand what you meant about being characters and then being actors. It needed an open mind and observation.

    There was a little reluctance. I am however beginning to see the difference.


  4. –>Phish:

    Thank you!

    That’s what work is for phish, so that we have something to escape from? 😉 Imagine if you were truly free?

    I will admit, I like ‘a la gaiza’, however, I’d like to taste something from the cuisine, your side of thinking! 🙂

    Yikes! Does that mean I don’t get any blog love from you any more? (nervous)

    I don’t dislike JD. To strong an emotion. I think it must be the women around me who have caused that.

    I haven’t seen Finding Neverland; I avoid movies that have him in them. But


    It’s somewhat the same for me. But more often than not my favourite actor/actress in it, and I will see the film. Not all of them are great, unfortunately!

    Thank ye!

    PS: This is a new experiment in responding to comments


    Yes, it does @ open mind. In a way, you will always “see” the actor (unless of course it is Daniel Day Lewis).

    Glad! 🙂


  5. Got to get a DVD pronto now!
    One good turn deserves another 🙂 Here’s what stunned me last week, Children of Heaven by Majid Majidi.
    By the way, you dont like Johnny Depp? I am shattered!


  6. Pingback: Finding Neverland (2004) « Been There, Read It, Seen That, Ate It

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