In the Valley of Elah

Director: Paul Haggis
Year Released: 2007
Rating: 2.0

Paul Haggis is the new Stanley Kramer. He makes message movies with a lot of message, often pumped through over and over again without reservation, he's a liberal, his movies are reckless but passionate and he seems to evoke strong performances from his participants. Like Crash, this is a movie where I like where he's going but don't feel he gets there with grace: here the point is that war makes young men psychotic murderers capable of killing their own comrades - it's an action deemed 'unthinkable' by vet Tommy Lee Jones (investigating the brutal murder of his son, who served in Iraq), but he discovers it's quite true (war dehumanizes, yes, we know). What I'm actually quite curious about is how veterans feel about this movie: people that have been there and come back. Will they be offended? Admit the possibility is there? Not be able to respond? Turn it off and watch the History Channel?