Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

21 February 2008

In the Valley of Elah, dir. Paul Haggis (2007)

NIKKI says:
Thanks God for Paul Haggis. Without him, we might not know racism is bad, or that war severely fucks with people. In his latest opus, Haggis blinds the viewer with stellar photography, rich performances, and the odd prophetic statement so that you just might not see that what he says with In the Valley of Elah is not as elegant and grand as you might first think.

It's the day after our viewing, and I'm finding myself offended by this film more than simply disappointed in it. It makes me think of Courage Under Fire and Platoon and other films that try hard to genuinely let us see the destruction of the psyche caused by wartime experiences. Instead, Haggis gives us posturing. Tommy Lee Jones has experienced war, you see, and so he's an authority, and a super detective. Everyone else is just lame or corrupt. But it takes the horrible death of his horrible son to make Tommy Lee see that perhaps America is in a time of crisis and so he turns that flag upside down, but, man, if he's served his country enough to chastise others in a "what do you know, you've never been to war"-type fashion, then surely atrocity has stared him in the face before? Why only now is he worried for his country?

This same stuff ruined Crash. Sandra Bullock has a go about the Hispanic man changing her locks, she freaks out when she passes a couple of black guys in the street, like people of different races are aliens or something. And boy will they get their comeuppance and be forced to see the light. Would you save a black girl from a burning car? What?!

Haggis just overstates his points so much. War is bad, war is deadly, was is evil, mistakes happen in war, kids get corrupted by war, people die in war, people are mean when put in evil situations. Shut up already and tell me something I don't know.

I think this movie went down hill for me when Charlize was getting taunted mid-interview by her fellow officers. That just wouldn't happen, and you just knew it was there to set up the horrors that happen later on to the interviewee at the hands of a war vet. Ready? Write this down: War fucks with people. I already saw Lawrence blow himself away in Full Metal Jacket -- again, tell me something new.

What's next for Paul Haggis? One for the ladies? Let me guess? It'll be called Rape, or In the Garden with a Naked Eve, and it'll be about slutty chicks with high IQs, that get raped and tortured just to show us that women can be sexual creatures without being called sluts. One will work at McDonalds, the other at Price Waterhouse, and the McDonalds chick will be raped by a minister or something equally ham-fisted.



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