Tears met my eyes in the seconds before it happened. The boy in the street closed the story. The impact explains the soldier’s horror and the final call for help by father and son is understood.
There are other conclusions available to the film In the Valley of Elah. Blame can be cast at the father’s rigidity. The disturbing acts could be portrayed as bad apples. These and other scenarios are likely to be found by the casual movie goer who seeks nothing more than dramatic entertainment, the escape route to measuring a convenient distance from the war.
What’s missing though is humor. There isn’t a single scene where the relationship between the characters restores the light hearted diversion to the comic side of life. It’s all serious and thoroughly filled with deeply probing symbolism that challenges every viewer to investigate the more complex heart in the myth of David and Goliath.
Hank Deerfield (Tommy Lee Jones) leaves his
Sanders is clearly the outsider as her peers get cheap laughs from her exchanges with a soldier’s wife over a complaint of animal cruelty by her soldier husband. The woman wants help that she claims the military won’t provide. She angrily disbelieves Sanders’ expression of concern that’s excused by the jurisdictional separation between the military and civilian world. After Sanders applies the same kind of dismissal to
When the police are called to the scene where body parts are discovered, Sanders is once more alone. She does her work carrying the softer role which allows us all to be repulsed by the evidence she examines. Then she seems perturbed by the arrival of the military police who take over the case because the spot of the crime is on base property. She's further insulted by the inferred investigative inferiority. And she seems to be the only detective interested in the truth. The men who she wants respect from all take refuge in the chance to avoid the work.
Sanders is stuck between the traditional world of men on both sides. Her quest for respect comes via compassion as she takes
Fighting the powerful male lead begins when Sanders resistance softens to become trust for
The truth is gradually discovered amid a mixture of Sanders' determination and Deerfield’s peek into Mike’s life in
It’s a bold attempt by director Paul Haggis to lead all Americans to imagine themselves as the armored warriors fearing Goliath in the biblical
PTSD is not mentioned but hinted at in father and son when Deerfield is awakened from sleep hearing his Mike’s desperate phone call from
When Private Ortiz tells
Like young David, we're afraid of the darkness. The bright lights of distractions is the armor allowing us to hide from Goliath, the big lie, in