Down in the Valley

2005

Drama / Romance / Thriller

122
IMDb Rating 6.4 10 17,662

Synopsis


Downloaded times
August 26, 2020

Director

Cast

David Morse as Wade
Edward Norton as Harlan
Kat Dennings as April
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.05 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
114 min
P/S N/A / N/A
2.16 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
114 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by CityBoy44 10 / 10 / 10

Challenging and Rewarding

I had the opportunity to see this film at Cannes and then again at it's 'real' debut at the LA Film Festival. What a difference! Apparently the filmmakers were anxious to get to Cannes and had not finished the editing. Although I liked it before-- this version really hits the spot without the confusing extras that were still at Cannes. I'm glad I gave it a second chance and in fact I'm now anxious to see it again when it's released. The film is very layered and subtle. It is beautifully shot and the four main characters are original and yet painfully familiar in their alienation, anger, and despair. The Cowboy character played by Edward Norton seems so simple at first but as he is drawn into the family his character and the truth of his 'being' gradually unravels in ways that left me speechless at the end of the film. The character played by Rory Culkin, "Twig", says very little throughout the film and yet he conveys a sense of yearning and loneliness almost too painful to bare. But even he undergoes an unexpected transformation by the end of the film. My favorite though, was Evan Rachel Wood. I think she steals the show... without trying at all. Her emotions and rebelliousness are raw and totally authentic. She is a luminous creature on the screen. Her relationship with the Cowboy seemed unlikely at first and then became completely believable, especially in the bathtub scene. My main criticism is that the film is demanding. If you're not in the mood to sink into a fairly deep experience with some shocking moments and unpredictable outcomes--don't waste your time. This is a film for lovers of independent film and psychological kinds of cinema. There are also several scenes that border on surrealism. I'd be interested to know more about the making of this film and look forward to the DVD. I imagine this film may take awhile to be discovered but it holds tremendous rewards for those patient and thoughtful enough to venture into it.

Reviewed by jaredmobarak 9 / 10 / 10

I invited Tex to the beach…Down in the Valley

I'm not quite sure exactly how I felt about Down in the Valley. At many times I thought it was a gorgeous film, shot perfectly, but at others I felt uncomfortable and shocked. We are given a love story between a troubled young man and a high school girl trapped in a family that could self-destruct at any moment. These two have been on a journey to find themselves, and in each other's kindred spirits finds another to help steer them onto the right course. However, a relationship like this cannot last. Whether or not you throw in the hot-tempered father, the shy brother lacking in gumption, or the voice inside our lead's head, the tale is one ripe for tragedy. I guess that means it all hinges on the story that gets you from the beginning to the end and whether it is one that was worth the journey. Despite the numerous moments that seemed out of place, and those that stirred discomfort, I will have to conclude that the path is ultimately one I'm glad I took. The great moments were a sight to behold and the tough ones did their job because I still can't shake them. If nothing else, the acting is top-notch. Evan Rachel Wood is truly amazing for a girl her age. From the little girl in Digging to China, to the rebellious teen in Thirteen, I can't believe how poised she is in all she does. Whereas someone like Anna Paquin fell off the map, as she got older, I think Wood will be around for quite awhile, and I can't wait for Across the Universe later this year. In this film, she encompasses the role of a young woman trying to break free from her stifling yet loose family life into a relationship that is too much for someone of her maturity to completely understand. When she slowly realizes what she is a part of, it is too late, and her mixture of fear with the love she still holds is heartbreaking. David Morse also brings a brilliant performance to the table. A long time character actor, he plays the formidable, sheriff type well, yet has the emotional range to portray the compassion he has underneath the rough exterior. His role is a man that is doing his best, but only when tragedy strikes does he realize how much love he has to give. Rory Culkin rounds out the supporting cast showing nice restraint in a confused young boy unable to differentiate good from bad as the good does what seems bad in order to protect and the bad puts on the façade of good to win him over. In the end, the real force of the movie is Edward Norton. It's good to see that after his little hiatus from acting, he has come back better than ever. His character Harlan is a complex man with a past that has made him regress into the age of chivalrous western ranches. You can see it in his eyes that the world wronged him in some way and he needed to become a part of a moment in time where people mattered and not material objects. When he ends up in an old west film set and watches the extras dancing and enjoying life in its bear form, the ecstatic look on his face shows it all. Harlan doesn't know who he is and the love of this very young girl puts him into a world that threatens the façade he has worked hard to build. The drugs and the selfishness and the pain wreak havoc on his mind and he begins to let his past anger rise back to the surface. Every moment as he continues on his journey is true to him; when he changes reality to suit his survival, he believes every word he is saying. Something is broken in him, and no one could have portrayed it better than Norton. I do think, though, that the acting is too good for the film. Morse and Norton are so effective in showing the dual nature of their characters that you end up feeling cheated never finding out what happened in their lives to get them to the points they are at when we are introduced to them. The script never allows us to see any of the characters' motivations, only the slice of life we are shown on screen. Is Harlan the son of a Rabbi? just a troubled youth with a criminal record? both? and if so what happened to make him try and forget it all? These are questions that the movie makes you ask, but never gives any answers to. To have a beautifully shot scene of Norton and Wood out in the country with a wonderful transition sequence involving a swing-set and then at the end progress to an outlaw gunfight chase is all at once jarring and effective, and yet insufficiently explained. These characters are so complex, I just wish the film did more to help us understand them all rather than just show us what happens when their cultures clash in the game of love. Definitely worth a look, but ultimately an underachieving film that had the makings for greatness.

Reviewed by keith-farman-1 9 / 10 / 10

Shane with attitude

Don't miss this elusive, allusive film if it hits a screen near you. See it before it becomes a cult movie. Profoundly American, it resonates with the contradictions of a culture whose real roots have been severed and is therefore struggling to live out its own mythology as a substitute. Desperately seeking sustenance and solace in a false memory of its real past. There are echoes of Badlands in this story of an archetypal American drifter. Having no roots, personal, social or occupational, he tries to live by the simple, direct values of the mythical west whose fantasised reality he creates for himself. Harlan has cowboy skills that won't get him a job; and uncompromising personal and social attitudes of independence and individual freedom. If these were ever real in the wide-open spaces of the pioneering west, they have no place or space to be, in the claustrophobic urban, cheek-by-jowl industrial ugliness of contemporary America. Ed Norton is one of the few actors around today who could sustain such a movie. And though all the supporting performances are excellent, Norton's powerful screen persona carries the weight of the film's strong atmosphere and tone. Norton's Harlan exudes danger. A sinister unpredictability of the superficially and misleadingly normal. Evan Rachel Woods' rebellious teenager Tobe (short for 'October') impulsively invites gas station attendant Harlan to join her and her friends going to the beach. Just as impulsively, 30-something Harlan throws up his job and goes. Almost surprised by Tobe's overt sexual precociousness, Harlan's fantasised simple Texan cowboy self enters into a naïve, even tender romantic relationship with the half child, half woman, but fully sexual Tobe. In the process he befriends her introspective, almost autistic 13 year-old brother Lonnie (a first-class Rory Caulkin). None of this sits well with Tobe's father Wade, stepfather to Lonnie. Wade is a gun-collecting Vietnam war veteran turned prison warder whose short temper and aggressive but dangerously controlled and controlling personality, is both suspicious of and threatened by, Harlan's apparent openness, honesty and genuine feeling for both Tobe and Lonnie. His respectful attitude cuts no ice with the deeply suspicious Wade. Jacobson's direction maintains a sense of distance from his characters by seldom going in close; concentrating largely on mid and two-shots. Exteriors stay long and convey a sense of expansiveness and scale reminiscent of traditional westerns, also used so effectively by Ang Lee in Brokeback Mountain. Elegant and simple editing creates an almost lyrical tone to Harlan and Tobe's burgeoning romance, which looks convincing yet carries an undertow of imminent menace. A superb and evocative soundtrack composed and largely performed by Peter Sallet, both musically and lyrically, reinforces this plaintive, elegiac tone. The apparent lightness of the unlikely romance is set against a brooding backdrop with more than a hint of an imminent storm. This is superb film-making, its various elements subtly blended together into a satisfying and affecting whole. Underpinned by Jacobson's own lean, expressive screenplay. In conception and execution this is very much Jacobson and Norton's (co-producer) film. Very personal. A showdown with Wade sends Harlon off to re-visit his actual or fantasy past. We are left unsure. We become witness to the extent of his fantasised existence and this, with the sense of foreboding intimated earlier, turns the tone of the film darker and more disturbing. Throughout, recurring images echo the western fantasy Harlon lives out: escaping with both Tobe and Lonnie riding through the urban landscape, up to the hills; teaching Lonnie how to shoot; and playing out fantasy western scenes in his apartment. Shades of Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) here. A Shane with attitude. Harlan is highly skilled in the use of western-style handguns, quick-drawing and fast-shooting. It is no coincidence that guns convey a totemic power throughout the film both in Wade's love of collecting them and Harlan's passion for the skill in handling them. A gun figures in the critical dramatic event in the movie. This pivotal moment poses the thought that these essential tools of the pioneer opening up a vast and hostile country, become corrosive and subversive to the necessarily different basis of personal and social relationships in the densely populated urban setting of modern America. Right idea - wrong time. The denouement of the film further blurs the line between fantasy and reality. Between old cherished verities and contemporary uncertainties. Again recalling Brokeback Mountain. Our feelings about Harlan, just like Lonnie who helps him against his stepfather, are deeply ambivalent. Like Tobe and Lonnie we have no frame of reference within which to judge Harlan appropriately. And to choose what Wade represents is unthinkable. As the brother and sister say their farewells to Harlan we are left with an impression not so much of an oddball with a deluded fantasy, as a man with a keen sense of a once genuine reality somehow misplaced in a time and place no longer capable of understanding or sustaining it. A beautifully made, multi-layered film that engages and absorbs on a simple narrative level but which resonates with thoughtful and challenging ideas about today's America and its sense of cultural identity in relation to its past - real and imagined. A rare treat. See it.

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