In the Valley of Elah

By
Review:
In the Valley of Elah


Many people believe that the War in Iraq is being fought for no specific reason other than the fact that the current President of the United States is seeking blood, oil, and/or some sort of glorious photo-op. However, while these people are looking at the President with angry glares, their gazes travel past him and land on those caught up in the middle of “his” mess on the other side of the world. They see the horrible atrocities committed in this terrible conflict and fail to remember the cardinal rule of warfare; war is hell. They also come to judge such events from the civilian mindset, which simply is not the viewpoint that should be taken up in such a situation. The soldiers who have answered the country’s call in this conflict come to be glared upon with the same ferocity that the President receives, although their plight is not quite as bad as that of Vietnam soldiers returning home to protestors screaming “Baby-Killer!”

The film, In the Valley of Elah, does a fantastic job of calling such issues to the attention of the American public, so that they might interpret a more informed viewpoint for themselves as individuals.

The film begins with Tommy Lee Jones playing a former military-man, being awoken to the news that his youngest son, Michael, is AWOL after his tour of duty is now up. After some investigation, what’s left of Michael is found, much to the lament of his family. Further investigation lead a friendly detective and Tommy Lee Jones down multiple avenues for finding Michael’s killer(s).Through a series of heart-straining discoveries, it is revealed that Michael’s killers were in fact his troop comrades, whom he squabbled with at the beginning of the movie for his getting them thrown out of a bar. After some much-needed closure, Tommy Lee Jones returns home with his son in tow, but stops in front of a flag-pole outside of a public building, downtown, in the wee hours of the morning. He lowers the flag, turns it upside-down, and secures it in that position for all to see, then continues on his way home. Overall, the film wasn’t that bad.

Now, the only problem I have is where the title plays any relevance to the story in question. The Valley of Elah is supposedly where David slew Goliath and became king of his people, or that’s what Tommy Lee Jones told a young bay who needed a bedtime story about half-way through the movie. What does it mean? It could possibly mean that the Goliath of the day, the USA, is now losing to the awareness of the American public, or David if you will. But, if you want to decide for yourself, I guess you’ll just have to see the movie and do so.





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