Saturday, March 29, 2008

In the Valley of Elah

I've seen a few movies around army life and I must admit I like the genre. Be it A few Good Men where I loved Jack, or Courage under fire, or Saving Private Ryan. In my book, this movie ranks up there with the best.
Another pleasant surprise was its creator, Paul Haggis. I had loved Crash, Million Dollar Baby(Script), Casino Royale(Script). In general I like this guy. This is his second movie and its brilliant.
Its about post traumatic stress thats impacting American troops in Iraq and how the war there is changing things in the mainland. Its one of the best antiwar movies, especially so as its so subtle(its disguised as a crime thriller). Tommy Lee Jones is outstanding. He carries the movie with a stoic restraint. Charlize Theron is equally good in her role.
Especially noteworthy scenes are.
- Tommy Bracing himself for the bad news(about his son) while tending to the cut he got while shaving.
- Tommy sharing the news with his wife.
- Tommy telling David and Goliath story to Charlize's son.

Another cool thing was the way he used his son's phone recordings as flashback, in insight into his son's life and persona.

How can you tell a gut wrenching story, without really having any villains. Then again its about parents having to face the loss of their children. (a theme that I've always found myself sensitive to, it brought back memories of In the Bedroom)

Somehow Paul Haggis movies do not go down well with the critics. For me, though, he is one of the best story tellers out there.