Friday, 6 November 2009

In the Valley of ...

This evening I watched a very gripping movie In the Valley of Elah (directed by Paul Haggis). I thought it was a detective movie all along, till the last minute. Towards the end I realised it was a very powerful protest against war (especially the Iraq war). However, the last shot of the movie made me realise another very strong dimension of the message: parental pressure, something which does not permit children from being themselves.

The film tells the story of a war veteran Hank Deerfield (Tommy Lee Jones) and his search for his son Mike, a soldier who recently returned from Iraq but has mysteriously gone missing from his military base. Later his disemberred and charred body parts are found near the military base. The movie later reveals how war dehumanises. Half way down the movie, Hank narrates the story of David and Goliath to a small boy. Apparently, seems to convey a very different message then (need to overcome the first enemy: fear). But the movie concludes, with the same small boy asking his mother this simple question: "Why did the king let David fight Goliath? After all he was just a kid!"

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