In the Valley of Elah

In the Valley of Elah

In the Valley of Elah

  That America in recent years by the war in Iraq has changed, which are feeling not only the politicians who seek to present the “primaries” for the support of the electorate, but more and more of the ordinary movie. Apparently, Hollywood would not hesitate this time, as long as the Vietnam War, which aroused such a trauma, that the film processing was delayed remarkably long. Some films have been moderate – with success – run in theaters such as Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs rather talkative / Lions for Lambs, others start as Brian Depalmas Redacted lie ahead. And now even Paul Haggis. The celebrated screenwriter ( “Million Dollar Baby) and director (Crash) is dedicated in his new film is also the theme and delivers exactly from what one could expect from him: moderately critical and intelligently entertaining movie with a thoughtful tone.

In the Valley of Elah / In the Valley of Elah is a film, how could he not be upright American. That is already evident in the title: In the Valley of Elah, the future of Israel defeated the giant Goliath, King David with his slingshot, as the Old Testament (1. Samuel, survived Chapter 17). And this is not the only biblical or Christian terms, refers to the Haggis, who also wrote the screenplay for the film. In the center of the story is the motif of the prodigal son, who is wanted by his father. Hank Deerfield (Tommy Lee Jones) is the man from Tennessee, which makes for a disturbing call from the military base at Fort Rudd in New Mexico on the long way there. The reason: his son Mike (Jonathan Tucker), who has just returned from his deployment in the Iraq war in the U.S., has disappeared without trace. For the parents of the young GIs is repeated so that a trauma, a few years ago was her older son, David, also a soldier in a helicopter crash. Mike’s comrades from Fort Rudd incite the disappearance, suggests a young woman behind the trip and remain silent. But the Vietnam veteran and a retired soldier does not give up and looks for traces of what could have happened with Mike. Mike’s cell phone with various photographs and videos from Iraq, thereby providing a first indication. Hank receives support only from the cop Emily Sanders (Charlize Theron), which it has in the male-dominated spheres of the police and the military is not exactly straightforward. As the unlikely duo uncovers in the course of the investigation, casts a revealing light on the apparent good order and discipline of the U.S. Army: crimes, drugs, alcoholism here on the agenda. Hank’s son is also getting involved in this vortex, which eventually cost him his life, so that the father has now lost two sons in the war.

Paul Haggis directed his criticism of the consequences of the Iraq war superficially as a classic thriller, at the end of the investigation of the murder of Hank’s son Mike is Deerfields. But that alone is a designated liberal by American standards, and political filmmakers like haggis too little. His film is also the state description of a country’s moral values are the standards abahnden come, that sends its young soldiers without adequate preparation in a brutal war, and then ignominiously with their problems, they let you down. Just as if we’ve learned nothing from the Vietnam fiasco.

Is not only Mike’s unit, and the whole American nation is struggling with the consequences of war and is in danger, morally numb. This is the simple message that can be from Paul Haggis’ film discerned, no need discerned. Unfortunately, Haggis proceeds as not always subtle, if at the beginning of Tommy Lee Jones in his hometown a caretaker bad folds because of the Stars and Stripes have flown around and runs – just the grumpy old warhorse – the poorest instructed that it was a distress signal then the knowledgeable audience already suspects, that will play exactly at the end of a role. Similarly obvious is also giving the title sequence in which Hank Emily’s young son as a bedtime story precisely the story of David and Goliath read to and immediately thereafter tried in the high art of biblical exegesis. Because really missing is the critical patriotic anthem “Born in the USA” do-gooders of the rock and roll Bruce Springsteen to explain to everyone that beats in Haggis’ Deerfields chest and the true heart of a sincere, honest, and disappointed in America.

Thanks to carefully elaborated characters, great actors (especially Tommy Lee Jones) and a mostly cautious and sovereign staging should make Haggis the nerve of the general public. The director knows the spirit as in his previous films on his side anyway, because he knows exactly what he can expect his audience to critique, to be deemed credible and patriotic at the same time. The great reckoning with the Iraq policy under George W. Bush, this film is not grown, but “only” a further, albeit weighty element in Hollywood could be long-standing dispute about the consequences of military intervention in the Middle East.

(Joachim Kurz)

Title: In the Valley of Elah Original Title: In The Valley Of Elah Country of production: USA Year of production: 2007 Length : 124 (Min) of material: Concorde Film Distribution

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