The Valley of Elah

tommy lee jones

Last week Mark was in town with a day off so we ditched the kids, well actually the kids ditched us, and caught our first movie in Norfolk where I am living and teaching at Old Dominion University. We went to the Naro, a very cool, old (1936), theatre to see The Valley Of Elah.

I wasn’t really expecting much, although I am a big Tommy Lee Jones fan from way back (Mark thinks it’s the three name thing, you know John Lee Hooker, Stevie Ray Vaughn) so I was surprised that I was really moved by this movie.

The movie effectively lets the viewer into the minds of young soldiers in Iraq who are unable to deal with the senseless, brutal, and horrific acts of a war that means nothing to them. Tommy Lee Jones, a retired career army man, and the father of a soldier who has gone missing, has a complete change of thinking and an awakening about the course America is on with this war. In the end he commits a hugely symbolic act with the flag (loved it!)

What touched me about The Valley of Elah was how effectively it relates one of the true devastations of this war, the destruction of the human mind.

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