Saturday, January 19, 2008

In the Valley of Elah

In the Valley of Elah / In the Valley of Elah. US 2007. PC: Blackfriars Bridge Films, NALA Films, Samuels Media, Summit Entertainment. P: Laurence Becsey, Darlene Caamano, Paul Haggis, Steve Samuels, Patrick Wachsberger. D+SC: Paul Haggis - based on a story by Mark Boal, Paul Haggis. DP: Roger Deakins - negative: Super 35 - digital intermediate - 35mm print 1:2,35. Starring Tommy Lee Jones (Hank Deerfield), Charlize Theron (Det. Emily Sanders), Jason Patric (Lt. Kirklander), Susan Sarandon (Joan Deerfield), James Franco (Sgt. Dan Carnelli), Barry Corbin (Arnold Bickman), Josh Brolin (Chief Buchwald), Frances Fisher (Evie). 123 min. Released by Sandrew Metronome Distribution Finland, Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Topi Oksanen / Ditte Kronström. Viewed at Tennispalatsi 9, Helsinki, 19 Jan 2008. Paul Haggis, the top screenwriter for three recent Clint Eastwood films and the director of the multi-story Crash, keeps giving surprises with this tough detective story in the military milieu where father investigates the disappearance of his son. It's a powerful and brave look into the mess that lurks in the circumstances of the Iraq situation. The name is a reference to the First Book of Samuel. In Finnish it should read: Tammilaaksossa. The cinematography is dirty, flat and ugly to look at. Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron are great. A few hours afterwards it felt odd to see the glamorous Charlize Theron in a Dior J'adore poster. In this film she is absolutely unglamorous and all tough determination as a cop who fights discrimination based on sex.

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