In the Valley of Elah

In the Valley of Elah

DVD - 2008
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Hank, a retired Sergeant with the Military Police, receives a call informing him that his youngest son, Mike, has gone AWOL. He thought his son was in Iraq, but is informed that Mike returned stateside four days ago with his platoon. When he calls his son's cell phone and gets voice mail, he drives to Fort Rudd and begins to make inquiries, but with each inquiry he comes to a dead end. Then a body is found, dismembered and burned beyond recognition and is identified as Mike. Hank tries to find out what happened, but continues to encounter hurdles. Yet he is persistent, uncovering things no one wants to hear, including himself.
Publisher: Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, [2008]
Edition: Widescreen
Description: 1 videodisc (121 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in
ISBN: 9781419860959
Branch Call Number: DVD Inth


From the critics

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Oct 18, 2019

Anything with Tommy Lee Jones is good. This is fairly good, kept me watching. Based on a true story. Father looks for son. I am not going to give spoilers. It is good. Acting good, story fairly good.

Mar 09, 2019

As a policier, this was an OK movie, but would have been better if the Theron character hadn't been so "Hollywood-ized" (ie) A bureaucratic cipher turned into a lovable solver of events.
This movie would also have been a lot better if it was of the style "The more you learn, the less you know" - the end result being total confusion lost in a bureaucratic maze.
Was the David & Goliath tale a heavy handed metaphor for the little guy fighting the bureaucracy? Or, did it accidentally become ironic?
Docked two notches for using a "Dondi" character.

Dec 01, 2018

There was more to this movie than I expected. Very well done. Kept my interest for the full two hours.

Jul 26, 2018

Really good mystery! Good cast as well!

Jan 18, 2018

Good movie about the devastating effects of war, both on solders and on their families. Minds warped, morals gone and a sense of decency vanished! Well acted by Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron.

Dec 22, 2017

Surprised that the description did not tout that this riveting crime drama was based on an actual murder case off a military base, with only the names and locations changed. The extras “In the valley of Elah: after Iraq" and "In the valley of Elah: coming home" showed the real story, interviews with real soldiers and the parents of the diseased. Both Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron gave credible performance in emotionally trying roles as they must work with unhelpful witnesses, face sex and age discrimination and deal with afflicted soldiers after their harrowing Iraq tours. A rare and excellent film on military true crime.

7.2/10 IMDb
4/4 Roger Ebert
73% Rotten Tomatoes

Investigative news story was told in a May 2006 CBS News program 48 Hours Mystery “Duty, Death, Dishonor; A Soldier Returns From War And Vanishes”

May 20, 2017

Rated 7/10.

May 16, 2017

The kiss of death for any film occurs when the director, fearing their audience is too dense to get “the message”, highlights it, underlines it, and then proceeds to shout it out from every frame. Canadian Paul Haggis did this in 2004’s abysmally pretentious Academy award-winner (OMG!) Crash, and now with Elah he pontificates on the War in Iraq with stars ’n stripes all around and an orchestra driven to exhaustion. As a straight-up missing persons mystery "Elah" has far too many fortunate coincidences to be more than mildly intriguing yet it’s watchable enough given Jones’ Oscar-nominated performance as a man torn between military sensibility and paternal guilt and Susan Sarandon’s star turn as his suffering wife. But when Haggis tries to delve into everything from PTSD to the inherent immorality of war—with a bit of sexual harassment thrown in just to cover all the bases—it turns into a sanctimonious soapbox homily determined to leave everyone with a black eye: the military, the government (Dubya drones on in background news broadcasts), and civilians alike for the evils in Iraq seem to find their counterpoint in the moral apathy back home (cue strip clubs and Mexican drug dealers). Films such as "The Hurt Locker" and Denmark’s "A War" managed to present war as both a physical battlefield and a psychological space. In "Elah", Haggis presents an overly adorned knee-jerk response to a much deeper problem and he does so with contrived pathos and one very tiresome biblical metaphor. That patronizing final scene alone is enough to make Spielberg weep.

Oct 18, 2014

You can't expect a person to go to war and not have consequences when they've witnessed so much brutality. The mother was against her son going because she had already lost one, but like she told her husband, he wouldn't have been able to be a man in this house if he hadn't gone. Unfortunately that's true; just because the father went he expected his sons to go also.

Jun 19, 2013

Well worth the watch.

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Add a Quote
Dec 22, 2017

Quite a few quotes in IMDb but not sure about these ones. Suggest to read them after the film because of potential spoilers:

It was just a way to cope. We all did stupid things.
It's the Army, I'll believe anything.
So every day, Goliath would walk into the valley... to challenge someone, anyone. But no one would fight him. Until David showed up... and said, "You know what? I'll do it. I'll fight him." So the king dressed David up in his own armor, which was so big...
-But why would he let him fight a giant? He was just a boy.
I don't know, sweetheart.
-Do you think he was scared? David?
Yeah. I think he would have been really scared.

Dec 22, 2017

Joanie, for once in your life, will you take my word for something?
-For once? For once? I seem to remember me being the one saying no... and you saying it'd be good for his character. Who won that argument, Hank?
Mike was the one who wanted to join. I sure as hell didn't encourage it.
-Living in this house, he never could've felt like a man if he hadn't gone. Both of my boys, Hank. You could've left me one.
He tried to convince me of crazy things.
-Try to get you to wear pantyhose?
Did he tell you?
- No, I told him. Cuts the cold like nothing else.
So he wasn't lying?
-You don't want to get shot wearing a pair of those. You'll never live it down.
This whole concept of "Vote or Die!" To me the question is:
Are they gonna vote? Are they gonna leave the bong long enough to actually vote?

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Mar 29, 2009

Susann thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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