In the Valley of Elah Reviews

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September 21, 2007
In his first solo outing since the Oscar-winning Crash, writer-director Paul Haggis falls into a familiar trap, where his lofty social theme fights its own battle against the forces of artifice and contrivance.
September 20, 2007
You can literally read on Jones' face. All of which makes certain genre devices intrinsic to the murder mystery aspect of the story seem trivial and anticlimactic by comparison.
September 20, 2007
Elah uses a slightly plodding police procedural format as an opening to a discussion about the effect the war is having on returning soldiers. It's a lot to ask of one movie.
September 15, 2007
The last scene of In the Valley of Elah may be the most ridiculously ham-fisted and over-the-top moment in all of 2007's supposed prestige cinema.
September 15, 2007
It is a showcase for Jones, who is moving as a father who only wants to know what happened to his son, but it is also a vile, hopelessly reductive film.
September 14, 2007
Will forever be known as the upside-down American flag movie. But showing the flag this way is heavy stuff that is supported by the movie the way a bowling ball is supported by a dandelion.
September 14, 2007
What Haggis obviously wants to explore is what the war in Iraq is doing to the humanity of our soldiers there. By approaching it indirectly, he simplifies it to a degree that I expect will anger many Iraq veterans.
September 14, 2007
The film's sense of responsibility proves almost paralyzing, allowing the production to be overwhelmed by the seriousness of what it's attempting.
September 14, 2007
If there was a symbol for cinematic distress, it would be raised in front of any theater playing this movie.
September 14, 2007
Although more seamless and less contrived than writer/director/producer Paul Haggis' Academy Award winning Crash, the picture offers little more than an earnest civics lesson.
September 14, 2007
Like Missing, a critique of U.S. government policy disguised as a mystery about a father searching for the truth about his son. And a rather heavy-handed one at that.
September 14, 2007
In and of itself, the story offers rich dramatic material that Haggis exploits well, but the writer-director's unsubtle condescension to his audience represents small thinking.
September 13, 2007
[Jones] can't single-handedly save this frustrating film from its overly earnest impulses, but when he's onscreen, at least the hokum burns cleaner.
September 13, 2007
With "In The Valley Of Elah," his follow-up to the absurdly overpraised "Crash," writer-director Paul Haggis solidifies his position as this generation's Stanley Kramer.
September 13, 2007
Neither affecting nor cerebral; it's a case of going through the motions.
September 13, 2007
Haggis is an extremely talented man, and much of the film works brilliantly. But it misses the mark.
September 10, 2007
Haggis reduces America's problems to a series of slanders and then hangs a flag upside down just to bully home the point.
September 10, 2007
It feels like a movie in search of prestige, not truth.
September 9, 2007
Tackles its Iraq War subject matter with such sledgehammer clumsiness that it risks giving viewers blunt head trauma.
September 9, 2007
A namby-pamby tirade against the war in Iraq, In the Valley of Elah is a Canadian's Sydney Pollack-inspired drag revue.
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