In the Valley of Elah

In the Valley of Elah

Paul Haggis (2007)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Paul Haggis's directorial follow-up to his Oscar-winning Crash features a powerful performance from Tommy Lee Jones as the father of a missing soldier, recently returned from Iraq. When it appears as though US Army officials are orchestrating a cover-up, Hank Deerfield (the Oscar-nominated Jones) joins forces with small-town cop Emily Sanders (a world-weary Charlize Theron) to expose the truth. Inspired by a real-life story, Haggis's script expertly blends all the suspense of a traditional detective thriller with a disturbing, psychological portrait of young men trained to kill. More than anger, it is sympathy that Haggis arouses for their plight, presenting these soldiers as victims robbed of their humanity on the battlefields of Iraq by a government that doesn't care. The gravity of the situation occasionally weighs too heavily and slows the pace, but it's still a compelling watch. A simple image of the Stars and Stripes flying upside down, in tatters, has a greater emotional impact than anything seen in Crash.


A retired military investigator's soldier son disappears without trace shortly after returning from Iraq. Frustrated at the police and the army's lack of progress in solving the case, he begins to suspect a cover-up and enlists the aid of a small-town detective in uncovering the truth. Drama, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon.

Cast & Crew

Hank Deerfield Tommy Lee Jones
Det Emily Sanders Charlize Theron
Joan Deerfield Susan Sarandon
Sgt Dan Carnelli James Franco
Mike Deerfield Jonathan Tucker
Evie Frances Fisher
Lt Kirklander Jason Patric
Chief Buchwald Josh Brolin
Cpl Steve Penning Wes Chatham
Arnold Bickman Barry Corbin
Spc Gordon Bonner Jake McLaughlin
Director Paul Haggis
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Optimum ReleasingGuidance: Violence, swearing, nudity.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 25 Jan 2008