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Factual basis


Although the story has been fictionalized and the names and location have been changed, the plot hews very closely to the story of Richard T. Davis, an Iraq War veteran murdered upon his return home in 2003. Richard Davis's father Lanny Davis, a former military police officer who mounted his own investigation into the crime like the Jones character, commented, "It's a strong movie and a good movie. And it's going to make a lot of people think." [1]


A non-fiction book about the actual murder case, by author Cilla McCain, titled Murder in Baker Company: The Forgotten Soldier is slated for publication. A documentary based on McCain's research is also scheduled to begin production in January 2008 and will be funded in part by director Paul Haggis.

Directed by Paul Haggis;

written by Mr. Haggis, based on a story by Mark Boal and Mr. Haggis;

director of photography, Roger Deakins; edited by Jo Francis; music by Mark Isham; production designer, Laurence Bennett; produced by Patrick Wachsberger, Steven Samuels, Darlene Caamano Loquet, Mr. Haggis and Laurence Becsey; released by Warner Independent Pictures.

Running time: 120 minutes.


WITH: Tommy Lee Jones (Hank Deerfield), Charlize Theron (Emily Sanders), Susan Sarandon (Joan Deerfield), James Franco (Sergeant Carnelli), Jonathan Tucker (Mike Deerfield), Frances Fisher (Evie), Jason Patric (Lieutenant Kirklander) and Josh Brolin (Chief Buchwald).


The suicide rate in the US military is at a 30-year-high as American soldiers return from the Iraq war. That is the claim made by Oscar-winning writer-director Paul Haggis (who unveiled his new film, In the Valley Of Elah at the Venice film festival at the weekend.)


Homelessness among the Iraq veterans is also on the rise and Haggis says the US government is turning a blind eye to veterans' problems. He says 30,000 US soldiers have been told "you don't have post-traumatic stress syndrome, you have a pre-existing behavioural problem".


With little support from the authorities, the traumatised soldiers are turning elsewhere for help. In particular, Vietnam veterans are coming forward to help them.


Geoffrey Macnab in The Guardian

Reviews of
“In the Valley of Elah”

In The Valley Of Elah


a man's voice, small, filtered by great distance:


Dad?... Dad?


I can hardly hear you.


Start very close on a phone and Hank's ear.


(phone filter)

I said your son has gone AWOL.



My son is in Iraq.

Widen to see HANK DEERFIELD cradling the phone, sitting on

the edge of his bed. You don't have to ask if Hank has seen

war, he speaks with the confidence of someone who has been

to hell and mapped the terrain. He keeps himself in shape

and is not a man who is often caught off guard, which makes

his confusion that much more troubling.


Your son was in Iraq, sir. His unit

arrived stateside four days ago.


Soldier, if my son was back I would

sure as hell know about it.

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