User review: In the Valley of Ellah

2008-04-01 16:05
The underlying theme of this movie, as seen through Jones’ eyes, is one of a system that has failed him. He himself dedicated his life for the cause, as well as the lives of both his boys. However as he delves deeper into the murder case, he realises that the army and its recruits are nothing like he used to remember. The honour and pride he once felt for the men that put themselves on the line, wanes as he gets closer to discovering the truth. Not only does he become disillusioned with the army, but with his late son. He realises, that after following a trail that leads him to strip houses, drug dealers, sleazy bars and questionable friends – he didn’t really know his son at all. Deerfield is haggard and cynical, thanks to all his years fighting on the line, and this next chapter in his life is just another blow to his already frazzled senses.

Charlise Theron’s character at first takes on a very secondary role in the movie. She is dull, and nondescript with her dark hair, make-up free face and androgynous outfits. We soon discover that she has had to evolve to this point, as she works in a male dominated arena, whereby the men have no sympathy for her as a woman. They tend to pick on her, and always give her the raw deal. When Deerfield confronts her about assisting him in his son’s case, she at first refuses as it isn’t part of their juristic. However, having a son of her own, she is moved to helping Deerfield, also realising that this might be one of the most important cases she has handled and that it could bring some meaning to her dull and mundane life.

Susan Sarandon, also stars in the movie as Deerfield’s wife, only makes a minor appearance. Her role is of a broken wife and mother, who has not only lost both her boys to the army, but her husband too. Her life is one of sadness and sacrifice, thanks to the military.

It's a very interesting and thought provoking movie. Not too involved in the military side of things, so it wasn't too complicated to understand.
- Ashleigh Seton-Rogers

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