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In the Valley of Elah

Bottom Line: Another eloquent' date=' sobering assessment of the State of the Union from the director of "Crash."

By Michael Rechtshaffen

Aug 31, 2007

Paul Haggis has not only avoided the dreaded sophomore slump, but

the director and co-writer of the Oscar-winning "Crash" has returned

with another bona-fide contender.


Ostensibly a murder-mystery

set against the backdrop of the war in Iraq, "In the Valley of Elah" is

a deeply reflective, quietly powerful work that is as timely as it is



Further graced by an exceptional Tommy Lee Jones lead

performance that would have to be considered one of the finest in the

60-year-old actor's career, the Warner Independent release is getting a

little preliminary festival exposure at Venice and Toronto before

opening in limited engagements on Sept. 14.


Strong word-of-mouth

should ensure that the film plays well into awards season. For those

not up on their Old Testament, "In the Valley of Elah" refers to the

place where David slew Goliath. It's an apt metaphor for the battle

undertaken by Jones, as a grieving father fighting his way through a

bureaucratic quagmire in search of the truth, and by the young men and

women who are facing insurmountable odds of emerging physically and/or

emotionally unscathed from an increasingly controversial conflict.



Hank Deerfield is a former military MP who receives a call that his

son, Mike (Jonathan Tucker, in flashbacks) has gone AWOL after

returning from active duty in Iraq. When the elder Deerfield shows up

in Albuquerque, N.M., to conduct his own personal investigation, it's

subsequently discovered that his son has been a victim of foul play.



his efforts to find out what really happened, Hank initially butts

heads with Emily Sanders (a no-nonsense Charlize Theron), a recently

promoted police detective who is fighting a couple of battles of her

own -- against the close-knit military brass, and for respect from her

colleagues, who make unsubtle intimations about her relationship with

her boss (Josh Brolin).


As Hank stubbornly soldiers on, Emily

eventually lends her support. As the two begin to piece together the

events that led up to Mike's disappearance, Hank is also forced to take

stock of his own belief system.


In part an adaptation of a

Playboy magazine article by Mark Boal called "Death and Dishonor," the

Haggis version is an eloquently written portrait of a man clinging to

logic during a time of confusion and turmoil.


With equal amounts

bravado, anguish and, ultimately, remorse filling the crevices of his

world-weary visage, Jones never has been better; Theron also

effectively portrays the multifaceted dimensions of a single mother and

small-town detective whose tough exterior conceals a considerable

amount of vulnerable self-doubt.


Making the most of the few

scenes she has, Susan Sarandon is affecting as Jones' dutiful wife,

while Frances Fisher does likewise as a bartender who provides Jones

with some valuable leads.


Production values are equally

accomplished, from cinematographer Roger Deakins' stirring visual

compositions to production designer Laurence Bennett's tarnished

Americana to Mark Isham's achingly poignant, string-laden score.



Será que a recepção será boa mesmo?


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By Aaron Hillis

IFC News

[Photos: LAbove, Charlize Theron and Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of
Elah"; below, Paul Haggis, Warner Independent Pictures, 2007]

The irony of Oscar-winning writer and director Paul Haggis
("Crash," "Million Dollar Baby") making a U.S. military drama with a
nonpartisan approach is that he may be the most polarizing filmmaker
since Michael Moore. Whether you find his to be the work of an astute
humanist or a middle-brow manipulator, "In the Valley of Elah" has
certainly grabbed people's attention, and it surely doesn't hurt that
Haggis has roped in a triple threat of award-winning actors. Tommy Lee
Jones plays retired Army sergeant Hank Deerfield, a Tennessee patriot
and loving husband to Susan Sarandon, whose soldier son Mike has
returned from Iraq. When Mike suddenly goes AWOL from the base, Hank
heads to New Mexico to try to track down his boy with the help of a
local detective (Charlize Theron). I chatted with Haggis briefly about
the film and the fiery debates his work has inspired.

It seems like everybody is making an Iraq film these days. What prompted yours?

It was 2003 when I started researching ["In the Valley of
Elah"], when I started looking at images online that were being posted
by some of the troops in Iraq, and I found them really disturbing.
These are kids, 18 or 19 years old, making their own home movies and
putting them up there like our kids do on YouTube. They were getting
around the Pentagon censors somehow, and you'd see them cut to some
song like "We Will Rock You" — the first few images would be fine, the
stuff that we've seen on the nightly news: laser-guided missiles
blowing up buildings, tanks rolling by, men shooting heavy machine guns
at enemies they can't see. And then this image came on of a young boy —
who had obviously made the video — hugging a burnt corpse by the side
of the road, and putting a hat on it. I thought, "Wow." Just goofing
off like kids would do, but my god, what's happening here? That
particular video didn't last long online. [laughs] But I found more and
more of these pictures, and I started asking these questions: What's
happening to our men and women? Then in May of 2004, I found this
article by Mark Boal about a father who goes searching for his son who
had gone missing. I was so deeply moved that I knew I had to do
something about it.

09102007_inthevalleyofelah.jpgWhat do you want audiences to take away from the film?

I can't ever really guess that. What I try to do is pose
difficult questions, and then hope people will talk about it. I don't
know what the conclusions will come to, but I think [about] if we had
to face those pictures of the dead that our troops have to face every
day. — maybe we could make a better decision about whether this is a
just war or a corrupt endeavor. We can make up our own minds.

We have a really wily government that has convinced us that
these images are too disturbing to see, and we have a media that has
agreed because they think — correctly so — that you're not going to buy
toothpaste after seeing a headless child on the news. So, we're just
not seeing these things, and that's wrong because we're making [other]
men and women face these horrors. The reason we can't understand [the
U.S. soldiers] when they come home and the reason they're having a lot
of problems is because there's a huge disconnect between them and us.
That's why I made a film that I hope is political without being
partisan. It doesn't say, okay, you're smart for having opposed this
war, or you're stupid for having supported the war. This is our shared
problem. We're all in this, but now we have to see what's happening to
our troops who are returning home with these terrible, terrible scars
and deep wounds that are just evident on their faces. We have to look
at what they're facing every day.

Did you ever feel that you'd neglected any responsibility by not putting your personal point-of-view in the film?

No, I have a responsibility to take myself out of it, I think.
It's pretty easy to figure out where my leanings are. If you go online,
you can find out I was demonstrating against the invasion of
Afghanistan, for chrissakes, so you can imagine how it was with Iraq. I
felt that I'm too easy to dismiss; who wants to see that point of view?
What you want to see, what I hoped, is the point of view of a man like
Hank Deerfield, who we can all point to from the left or right and say,
that's an American. We may not agree with his politics, but we know
that proud man. I thought I should tell this story through his eyes,
through the eyes of the G.I.s, the returning men and women who just
want to be heard. For all the research I did, and I talked to many
veterans who were active duty soldiers, they kept saying over and over
that we're not hearing what's happening over there. If we see what they
see, like WWII, that there are horrors, [maybe] it's worth it. Or we
can look at those same things, and say: "You know what? It's not worth
it." But at least they're informed, and the truths are much more
informative if, while they're in it, it's haunting them.

What do you think about all the right-wing political bloggers who are up in arms about this movie without having seen it yet?

I don't. There are always stupid people out there. Anyone who
criticizes before seeing it or reading the script is just a moron. You
don't try to convince people who can't be convinced. They have a
political agenda. They don't want to see what's going on. I would tell
them, don't talk to me. Don't see my movie. Just go find a veteran and
ask him or her what's going on, and listen. Don't try to judge from
your own point of view. I tried not to judge these characters. I put
myself in their places, and I don't know what I'd do. I'm not
interested in what bad people do and the wrong decisions that are made.
I'm interested in what good people do and the right decisions that
haunt them forever. If these people can put themselves in that same
place and say, "Oh yes, well I would make the morally correct
decision," then they're horses' asses.

Having written (and directed one of) back-to-back Best Picture Oscar
winners, do you feel pressure to keep the bar set high when approaching
new projects?

I guess it's difficult for me to take meetings these days because my
head is so huge it's hard to get through the door. I have to make sure
there are double doors so I can get in. [laughs] You just continue to
do things you feel passionate about, and you use those Oscars and
nominations to reassure people. This was really hard for me because in
2003 and 2004, we had a president with an 80% approval rating.
Democrats and Republicans alike were driving around with flags on their
cars in Santa Monica, where I live, which is like the most liberal
place in America. [laughs] So it was not easy to get this film made.
They look at those awards and go, "Well, we didn't understand 'Crash'
and 'Million Dollar Baby,' and Clint's the only reason that succeeded,
but okay. We don't understand this one either, but those films made
money and awards, so maybe this one will make money, too." So I guess
that helps a lot.

The hot debates surrounding "Crash" are suddenly being dug up again.
What's your reaction to those accusations that "Crash" panders to
liberal guilt by accusing its audience of being racist?

Well, I like to disturb people. I think I succeeded because a lot of
people are really disturbed by what I do. That makes me feel great. Who
would want to do a film where everybody says, "Hey, nice job. I wonder
what comes next?" If people are still disturbed by this two or three
years later, I'm thrilled.

I think the concern is more with the means than the content itself.

If you had a particular point of view and an axe to grind, would
you necessarily always say, "I'm blank, this is what I feel, and this
is what I'm going to criticize"? You never hear things straight out.
Someone will come up with all sorts of justification to why they hate
things. Oddly, 99% of the audience didn't hate ["Crash"] until it won
Oscars, and then people were outraged, especially for me. Well, I
didn't vote! [laughs] I'm sorry, I never said it was the Best Picture
of the year. It's a ridiculous thing to judge one picture better than
another. I like the Oscars, don't get me wrong. I'd like to get more of
them. People felt betrayed because they loved ["Brokeback Mountain"],
and they felt outraged that I somehow boondoggled people into voting
for mine. Well, I left the country six weeks before because I couldn't
stand the P.R. machine. I went to hide and write. I'm a Canadian, I
don't promote myself; I don't like it.

Of course it stings, but this is the business we have chosen. My job is
not to be liked, but to make films that are provocative. If I stop
doing that, then people should hate me. I would much rather be loved or
hated than just go down the middle of the street and have people say,
"Oh yeah, he's a nice filmmaker. He's okay." I think people will be
vilifying me for all new things: it's too subtle, or whatever. There
were two articles about "Crash" that I felt were just hysterical. One
was an opinion piece in the Washington Times,
I think, and it was called "Why the Left Hates 'Crash'". Then a month
before or after that, I can't remember which, another article in some
liberal-ish rag was titled "Why the Right Hates 'Crash'". I knew I was
doing something right.

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Calls for Charlize boycott



13/09/2007 22:46  - (SA) 


Cape Town - Charlize Theron and Tommy Lee Jones' latest movie In the Valley of Elah

is to open in the US on Friday amid calls from some war supporters to

boycott the actors as it is believed to be "anti-US" and "defaming US


The film, directed by Oscar-winning Crash filmmaker Paul

Haggis, is based on a real 2003 case involving the stabbing death of

Iraq war veteran Spc Richard Davis after he returned from battle.

Surrounding the case were allegations the victim witnessed

war-time atrocities, and the convicted perpetrators suffered from

extreme stress disorders that were downplayed by officials.

In the movie Tommy Lee Jones plays the role of a former

military police investigator trying to find out why his son was

brutally murdered, whereas Charlize Theron plays a police detective who

helps in the investigation.

'Bin Laden cinema'


According to a news report on Wednesday in USA Today,

conservative columnist Debbie Schlussel labelled it "Bin Laden cinema"

and called for a boycott of the actors.

On her website she wrote: "the movie defames our troops as

murderous, drug-addicted, prostitute-patronising thugs who torture

wounded Iraqi civilians for fun and sport."


The conservative NewsMax.com also categorised the movie as an "anti-war, anti-US flick".


However, according to USA Today some military bloggers such as

SgtStryker.com and PTSDcombat.blogspot.com, have praised it for

highlighting issues that are front-and-centre in military communities.


Jones told US Today he was not intimidated by the criticism,

saying he is "so ready for a fight he doubts there'll be much of one".


"The tactic of leading people into a war that doesn't make any

sense by telling them they are under attack, and if they raise any

objection they're unpatriotic, is a very old tactic. And it doesn't

intimidate me," he said.


Charlize Theron was quoted earlier as saying that she hoped the US troops in Iraq could return home soon.

While promoting In The Valley of Elah at the Venice Film

Festival, the Oscar-winning star told the BBC: "Nothing would give me

more joy than to see them back in America. The soldiers are doing a

very, very important job and it's a dangerous one.

"Hopefully they can come back and be looked after, that's the least we can do for them."













Fonte: news24.com



tão querendo boicotar os atores e o filme do Haggis! Por acreditarem que o filme

seja "anti-USA" e por difamar os soldados americanos.

lizzybennet2007-09-15 15:05:57
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Então é certamente uma bomba. Ele deu 5 a Crash.07


Pois é Bernardo' date=' com relação ao filmes do diretor Paul Haggis temos que ficar com um pé atrás com o Pablo vide as suas 5 estrelas para "Crash" ... talvez eu vá arriscar em vê-lo no cinema, talvez ... 03



Pois eu gosto de Crash E de James Franco E do Tommy Lee Jones E do Paul Haggis E acho que a Charlize Theron fica ainda mais bonita morena.


êê, vamos começar a quebrar o pau!!!16
Marcela2007-11-29 17:30:29
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bem eu gostei muito desse filme






mais tem uma parte que eu achei muito interessante é quando ele bota aquela bandeira velha no final do filme .




O cara fala "essa bandeira é bem antiga né" e o ator principal fala " não ela só estar gasta!




Pelo menos o que eu entendi é que os estado unidos já estão cansado com aquela guerra sem fim. E que precisam de ajuda, pois fala que quando a bandeira esta alcontrária é por que algo aconteceu e a nação precisa de ajuda.






pois bem eu vi e gostei muito


e aconselho a todo a verem.


E gente alguem fala com o busch para acabar com a quela guerra ridicula.Mr.max2008-05-10 21:13:51

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