In Monroe, Tennessee, Hank Deerfield, an aging warrior, gets a call that his son, just back from 18 months' fighting in Iraq, is missing from his base. Hank drives to Fort Rudd, New Mexico, to search. Within a day, the charred and dismembered body of his son is found on the outskirts of town. Deerfield pushes himself into the investigation, marked by jurisdictional antagonism between the Army and local police. Working mostly with a new detective, Emily Sanders, Hank seems to close in on what happened. Major smuggling? A drug deal gone awry? Credit card slips, some photographs, and video clips from Iraq may hold the key. If Hank gets to the truth, what will it tell him?Written by
Several of the actors who played soldiers, including Wes Chatham (Corporal Steve Penning), Jake McLaughlin (Specialist Gordon Bonner), and Sean Huze (Captain Jim Osher), had actually served in the Iraq War themselves. See more »
In the scene where Hank Deerfield is trying to access his son's financial records via his laptop, he is talking to his wife on the phone. When the camera is on him, he is holding the handset to his ear but when the camera is on the laptop, the phone is visible to the right of the laptop and the handset is on-hook. The logo of a dial-up ISP is displayed on the laptop as it's downloading e-mail. If the laptop is connected to the ISP, he couldn't be using the phone line to make a voice call. See more »
Spc. Gordon Bonner:
What are you doing? Get back in the fucking vehicle man! Mike, get back in the fucking vehicle. Let's go, Mike, now!
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Jason Patric does not appear at all in the end credits. Since he plays a pivotal role in the film and is seen in many of the scenes, it seems odd that he is uncredited for this role in this film. See more »
Released in 2007 and directed & written by Paul Haggis, "In the Valley of Elah" is a crime drama/mystery inspired by the real-life case of Richard T. Davis. The story revolves around an elderly Tennessee couple (Tommy Lee Jones & Susan Sarandon) who get word that their son has gone missing from his base in New Mexico shortly after his return from Iraq. A retired military investigator, Hank Deerfield (Jones) goes to the base to find out the awful truth. Charlize Theron plays the civilian detective near the base who tries to help Hank while Jason Patric plays the Army counterpart. Josh Brolin is on hand as the town police chief.
This is a slow-burn mystery highlighted by great acting by the principles, especially Jones, and a thoroughly realistic story, which isn't surprising seeing as how it's based on true events. Speaking of which, I was surprised to find out that the basic details of the story are all accurate. The actual events took place in the Fort Benning area of Georgia rather than the fictitious Fort Rudd, NM.
The movie's not anti-Iraq War, but rather anti-PTSD; it merely reveals the awful truth about war in general: When we send our young men off to far-off lands where brutal warfare is normal they can bring that desensitized mentality back with them where the barbaric behavior that might be acceptable in war is anything but normal or conducive to a successful life, to say the least. Add the idiocy of alcohol abuse to the mix of PTSD and the results almost certainly WON'T be good.
The title refers to the valley where David, as a teen, fought and defeated the utterly intimidating Goliath from 1 Samuel 17.
ADDITIONAL ACTORS: James Franco, Wes Chatham, Jake McLaughlin, Mehcad Brooks and Roman Arabia play soldiers who knew Deerfield's son while Frances Fisher has a curious cameo (you'll know what I mean).
The film runs 121 minutes and was shot in Whiteville, Tennessee, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, with Morocco substituting for Iraq.
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