IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH (2006)
Tommy Lee Jones gives a stoic, concentrated performance as a retired military investigator looking into the disappearance of his son, who turns out to have been murdered while on leave from the Iraq war. Jones may have the most expressive beat-up aging face in Hollywood. Weary, sober, the pilot light of hope and humanity flickers there but never dies.
Thwarted by the indifference and turf war between the local and military police, and the stonewalling of both, he teams up with a newbie investigator (Charlize Theron) who is fighting her own battle for respect with the local police good old boy establishment. Together they get to the bottom of the crime. There are losses worse than death, and the wrenching denouement in this acclaimed anti-war drama left me reeling from the implications of the collateral damage that still haunts the misbegotten war in Iraq. Based on a true story. Directed by Paul Haggis (“Crash”, “Babel”). Susan Sarandon.