About four weeks ago I was approached by Acacia Aurora, also known as Auri, to do a collaboration post. This is the first time I am doing something like this, so not only am I excited for it, but I am also honored to have been given this chance. Thank you Auri! For those of you that have yet to discover her wonderful blog, you can visit her here . The blog is filled with a lot of great posts about manga and anime, and also her great art. It is well worth the visit, and ofcourse once you are there you should definitely subscribe.
Now her idea for this collaboration was very cool. We have picked a movie, and I have watched the first part of the film, while Auri watches the second part. Based on what we have seen we try to predict what happens, and has happened in the first or second part of the film. And then ofcourse we get to see if we have been right about our predictions! The movie that we have chosen is the drama In the valley of Elah, a 2007 movie starring the fantastic Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron. The film is 1 hour and 56 minutes long, so I have watched the first 58 minutes. Please note that what follows will be full of spoilers, so if you have not yet watched this movie, you have been warned!
In the valley of Elah, part 1
This movie is based on a true story. Tommy Lee Jones plays the retired military police officer Hank Deerfield. His son Mike, who is a soldier, is about to return from a tour of duty in Iraq. But then things begin to get weird. Hank gets a call from the military that his son has not returned, or at the very least has gone missing, and they are about to file him as having gone AWOL. That is the military term for Absent Without Official Leave. Hank does not believe Mike would go off just like that, and is determined to find him. He at first travels to the base where his son was stationed, but that really does not help him much. The only thing he did receive was his son’s cellphone which contains a few videos made by his son in Iraq. The videos are very damaged though, and he has to enlist the help of a specialist in order to decrypt them.
Hank next turns to the local police department. Once there he meets up with detective Emily Sanders, a role played by Charlize Theron. Unfortunately as Mike is in the military at first she does not want to help him, as the official procedure is to file a report with the military police. With Hank getting more desperate by the minute, things take a turn for the worse. A dismembered body has been found, heavily burned and mutilated. Soon the shocking confirmation comes that it is indeed Hank’s son. The body has been found on the terrain of the army, so technically it falls under the jurisdiction of the military. At least that is what is decided at first. The murder of Hank’s son appears to have been caused by a local drug cartel, and it seems that it looks like a drug deal that has gone bad.
Hank does not believe for one second that his son was into drugs, and insists to be taken to the crimescene where his son’s body was found. The military police does not want to offer any kind of help, but then help comes from an unexpected corner. Detective Sanders takes Hank to the crimescene, and once there they find out that the body was moved. This means that it now becomes a police matter again. Emily takes the case to her boss, who pulls some strings to get the jurisdiction back to them. Meanwhile Hank has received a few decrypted videos from his son’s cellphone. Looking through them it seems that Mike was involved in something horrible in Iraq, but exactly what has not yet become clear.
With the case now back in Emily’s hands, she tries to talk to to some witnesses, but is pretty much stonewalled by the military, saying that the matter is closed and they already have their statements. Hank and Emily finally begin to work together, and and are also getting some mutual respect for each other. Emily invites him over for dinner with her young son, and also to discuss their next move. After dinner Hank tries to read a bedtime story to Emily’s son…..and it is at this point that I hit the 58 minute mark!
So far this movie has been incredibly entertaining. Tommy Lee Jones gives one of the best performances of his entire career as the desperate father who is determined to find out the truth. But Charlize also plays very well as the detective who is also despised by her colleagues. The atmosphere for this movie is very dark and gritty. I also love the way the story so far is having some really nice twists and turns, and really keeps you guessing what will happen next. I absolutely have to contain myself not to watch any further, but ofcourse I am not going to that. And now for the hard part!
My predictions for part 2
The big question is ofcourse: was Mike murdered by a local drug cartel? My guess is no. I think that Mike has seen something in Iraq that he was not supposed to see, and that he was murdered because of that. I also believe that this might have been done by members of his own unit. The stonewalling of the military throughout the movie so far, is making it clear to me, that they want to cover something up. It might be that an attack in Iraq has gone bad, and they murdered civilians or something like that. I also think that both Hank and Emily will get in over their heads, and their lives will be in danger. In the end though, the truth will be revealed, and his son’s reputation restored. Emily will also finally get the respect she deserves from her colleagues, because of solving the case. Hank, though full of grief, will be able to move on and find peace. Well…at least that is what I think will happen. Let’s see if I am correct, or completely wrong. Auri: over to you! You can find out what happens next by reading Auri’s post, which you can find here.