Wednesday, February 06, 2008

In the Valley of Elah

Behind good films are good writers and directors. Find them, find a good film. The Coen Brothers, David Fincher and Charlie Kaufman generally fit the bill. And so, increasingly does Oscar-winner Paul Haggis. Haggis did much of the work behind Crash, Million Dollar Baby and Casino Royale. In the Valley of Elah is his latest.

This is a film about war but not how you'd expect. The name comes from the location of the Biblical confrontation between David and Goliath. That story is often told in churches as a challenge to overcome giants, and probably ought to be told with reference to Jesus, great David's greater Son. This offers a different angle as Hank Deerfield tells the story to David Sanders (interestingly Deerfield tells the story because he can't make any sense of the "christian-allegory" The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe). What possesses a child to go fight a monster? And how does the experience effect them.

Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron lead, with some support from Susan Sarandon. The film runs at a slow pace but that's necessary to take in it's message. The impact of war on both a veteran and on those who have returned from Iraq. Not one for a fun evening, but an ideal Orange Wednesday thinker.

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