7.2/10
62,915
231 user 235 critic

In the Valley of Elah (2007)

A retired military investigator works with a police detective to uncover the truth behind his son's disappearance following his return from a tour of duty in Iraq.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Sgt. Dan Carnelli
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Arnold Bickman
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Evie
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Corporal Steve Penning
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Spc. Gordon Bonner
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Spc. Ennis Long
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Mike Deerfield
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Detective Nugent
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Private Robert Ortiez (as Victor Wolf)
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Detective Hodge
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Storyline

In Monroe, Tennessee, Hank Deerfield, an aging warrior, gets a call that his son, just back from 18 months' fighting in Iraq, is missing from his base. Hank drives to Fort Rudd, New Mexico, to search. Within a day, the charred and dismembered body of his son is found on the outskirts of town. Deerfield pushes himself into the investigation, marked by jurisdictional antagonism between the Army and local police. Working mostly with a new detective, Emily Sanders, Hank seems to close in on what happened. Major smuggling? A drug deal gone awry? Credit card slips, some photographs, and video clips from Iraq may hold the key. If Hank gets to the truth, what will it tell him? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes The Truth Is Best Left Buried See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent and disturbing content, language and some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 September 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Death and Dishonor  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$133,557 (USA) (16 September 2007)

Gross:

$6,777,741 (USA) (21 February 2008)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Paul Haggis, Clint Eastwood helped get this film green-lit. See more »

Goofs

The first video downloaded from the camera phone shows elaborate well-focused telephoto work, as well as a high crane shot of the native people. This type of video could not be shot by the tiny cell phone or by person less than about fifteen feet tall. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Spc. Gordon Bonner: What are you doing? Get back in the fucking vehicle man! Mike, get back in the fucking vehicle. Let's go, Mike, now!
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Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Awards Special 2013 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

What Have We Done
Written by Wanda Jackson and Wendell Goodman
Performed by Wanda Jackson and Justin Trevino
Courtesy of Texas Music Group
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Why do most critics attack this film for being heavy-handed?
29 September 2007 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Only Roger Ebert and the reviewer for Rolling Stone seem to see the truth here: this film is slow and elegiac because it deals with heavy matters, but it is never boring, not if you understand the situation and the depth of feelings being explored. It's as if reviewers don't get it because they didn't really feel what the film is saying. Saying that there have been dozens of films about how war ruins men so it's a cliché, and that this one is too dreary and slow means that a person has stopped feeling for what is really hurtful, is even in denial. And that's the theme of this film: what happens when we lose touch with what's painful and don't care any more. The film is restrained but powerful, which is why it has such a strong effect.

Jones is wonderfully grim, with a face like a road map, as he explores what happened to his son. Charlize Theron is beautiful even though she is playing a woman who is forced to act as non-sexy as possible to get on in her job in a male police force. Susan Sarandon is not, as some critic said, "underused"; she gives a performance that is all the more powerful because it is restrained. This movie should be a must see for all who believe that the Iraq war should continue until there is an honorable time for America to leave. That time is already passed.


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