October 17, 2007
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    MOVIE REVIEW: IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH

IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH
I don't know what to say about In The Valley Of Elah Magnificent, disturbing, should be seen by every American, Mixed messages? What?

I actually went to see it based on recommendation of the "girlfriends"(group of men friends) or as we've recently been called, The Dysfunctional Six.

THE STORY

Basically, it is the story of the anguish of parents and a missing son, AWOL (absent without leave). Just home from Iraq, he disappears? The father, a military type, himself, an investigator, CID (Criminal Investigative Division). He bleeds red, white and blue.

The story is wrapped in crime, drugs, the Mexican mafia. However, it really is not about this. Charlize Theron is good as the local detective who battles all sorts of demons. This one is only one file on her desk or would be if it was not for Tommy Lee Jones, the Dad. He is relentless. Jones is "Call" in Lonesome Dove. Take no prisoners. Susan Sarandon is the Mom, somewhat of a cameo appearance but very, very good.

Underlying it all is the Iraq War. What have we done to America's clean cut kids. The story is disturbing because, as my friend said, it forces us to deal with questions that nobody is asking.

One question: Is it about class--when we talk about Iraq, the elephant in the room is "class." Only the lower middle class at best is fighting this war.

WHAT ABOUT THE IRAQ WAR VETERAN

How different is the Iraq War Veteran than vets of of other wars. The same. Yes and No. The combat veteran is just that-a warrior who has seen war. However, the young Iraqi soldier is different in as much as the world is now different.

In The Valley Of Elah, there's a scene of the son calling home. He is sending pictures over the Internet; it is a media war.

THE TITLE: IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH

The symbolism of the title is fascinating. The title is taken from the Bible. Elah was the valley where David met Goliath. Fascinating how the movie makers decided on the particular title. The story of David and Goliah and as the movie deals with itis all about conquering one's fears.

How can war not affect the warrior? The issue is how? Here we were thinking that we had the Iraqi vets covered-not like Vietnam where soldiers were in the jungles one day, Detroit the next. In Vietnam there was no re-entry.

This movie conveys that we are not prepared for their homecoming: is this true? Or, does the plight of the vet simply convey a story of a movie Director who wants to make a statement about Iraq, which he does.

This a compelling story from every single direction. My suspicion is that it will be a critic's choice (and it should) but that the public at large, will basically ignore. It is too heavy and too, too close to the bone. Three parachutes.

3 parachutes

Three parachute.



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