Film sees war as a brutalizer of humans

(Canscene) –Tommy Lee Jones, one of the best actors in the business was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in In The Valley of Elah.

He didn’t win but you can rest assured that any thinking man or woman who’s seen the film will have admired his truly remarkable performance as Hank, a retired Army sergeant.

Now I’m not a plot spoiler. Suffice it to say that Hank’s son who’s reported back to base camp after a tour of duty in Iraq has gone AWOL, and Hank drives across the country to find the boy. His search leads to the discovery of his son’s remains and from then on, Hank is involved in a relentless search or the truth.

Tommy Lee Jones as Hank, perplexed father

The film directed by Paul Haggis, isn’t exactly a model of storytelling; it tends to drag in a few places. But Jones, aided by Charlize Theron as a police detective (in another great performance) eventually learns the truth and it isn’t pretty.

Once again, history is repeating itself, War itself can brutalize those who fight it. Threatened by an unpredictable enemy, forced to live under mind- numbing discipline, even questioning the morality of their cause, men and sometimes even women are themselves driven to brutality.

The glue that holds this film together is Tommy Lee Jones as he portrays a decent man forced to confront unspeakable corruption of character. This film reminds us that post-traumatic stress syndrome may be making inroads on human minds for years before the completion of missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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