Friday, September 14, 2007

In The Valley of Elah (review)

Elegiac Indeed
1. Of, relating to, or involving elegy or mourning or expressing sorrow for that which is irrecoverably past: an elegiac lament for youthful ideals.

For some reason, as I was watching this movie, this word 'elegiac' stuck in my mind. Actually, I was misspelling it in my mind as 'elegaic' but so much for my lost glory as the winner of the 3rd grade spelling bee.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, but kept wondering how many people would be bored to death, looking at the heavy lines in Tommy Lee Jones' face, and not having any exciting action scenes (well there was one cops-chasing-AWOL-suspect interlude) involving Mini Coopers or martial arts. I even imagine it could be booed in certain parts of the country just for having Susan Sarandon play a soldier's mother. It's bad enough that Tommy Lee Jones used to be Al Gore's roommate!

But here we are, reaping what George W. hath wrought, with Saddam Hussein's blustery words echoing in my mind. Before the invasion, Saddam said something like 'the Americans will drown in sand' or words to that effect. Perhaps he was right. As we pressed on towards Bagdad, the Republican Guard melted away, and we were moving too quickly to even secure a huge warehouse of ammo and explosives we found. Later on, we returned to find the warehouse empty. I often wonder how many IED's and car bombs have been powered by what we callously left unguarded. While Saddam himself may be gone, I think one could make a good case for the analogy that the US has become stuck to the tar baby in the briar patch.

If you liked Paul Haggis' Crash, you'll probably like this film. I have a soft spot for anyone involved in the production of my favorite TV series, Due South, of which Haggis was a frequent writer, director and/or executive producer.

I'm not really in the mood to list all the spoilers that illustrate the damage the war in Iraq had wreaked on the US. Some of the scenes in the film make this point in an obvious, maybe even clichéd manner, but many resonated with me hours after the film was over.

I think I've warned off those that may not like it, but I still recommend it to the rest of you. If you see it, let's discuss some of the details in the comments area below, OK?

1 comment:

Geoff Gould said...

for an actual review, I would suggest you check out this excellent review by Roger Ebert.