In the Valley of Elah

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Released 2007

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Movie Summary

Director:
Paul Haggis
Released:
2007
Rating:
R

In the Valley of Elah is the acclaimed 2007 crime drama myster y from celebrated writer-director Paul Haggis (Crash - not the Cronenberg version), co-created by newly lauded screenwriter Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker).Ex-military officer Hank Deerfield (Tommy Lee Jones) is told that his son Mike, a soldier returning home from Iraq, has gone missing. When he arrives at the military station, people don't seem to want to tell him what happened, and say that they expect he'll come to the base anytime soon. Refusing to believe that it's as simple as that, Deerfield is relentless in getting information out of people as to what really happened. It's the way he functioned in the army, and it benefits him greatly as he has to get any information he can out of people. Enter Detective Emily Sanders (Charlize Theron), who at first just wants to get through her job for the day, but soon gets wrapped up in also discovering what really happened to Deerfield's son.

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Metacritic Score

  • 60

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    However you judge the movie's politics, and whatever its flaws, there is something inarguable, something irreducibly honest and right, about Mr. Jones's performance.

  • 50

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    The characters in this somber film have the glum look of individuals delivering a Very Important Message to the world. And though this film in fact does have something crucial to c...

  • 50

    Variety Robert Koehler

    Too self-serious to work as a straight-ahead whodunit and too lacking in imagination to realize its art-film aspirations.

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Themes

Military & War, Thrillers, Crime