Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Lost in the Valley

I sat silently in front of the television on Sunday night as the end credits began to roll. I could do little more than stare blankly into the darkness of the living room and massage my eyes.

The final ten minutes of In The Valley of Elah left me saddened, frightened, moved, and shaken to the core on a level I hadn't felt since watching The Pianist as a young teenager.

I have an understanding with myself that I don't like to discuss how I liked or disliked a film until I've sat on it for a day or so and let my feelings solidify. Instead of talking, showering, checking my email, or doing anything else, I headed for bed and picked my iPod up on the way. I thought I'd have a song or artist to listen to whose music would tap into the way I was feeling.

I scrolled down from A to M and found songs of patriotism, rusty old Ford pickups, death, and anarchy (though not very many of those). Nothing I listened to connected with me in the way I needed. Alan Jackson and Rushlow Harris' tribute songs to soldiers were difficult to handle after the brutal stories from Elah, but Neil Young's words of protest or Wyclef Jean's diatribes against President Bush and foreign wars seemed similarly inappropriate.

Over the past day or so I've spoken with a few people about In the Valley of Elah and it has become clear to me that it is a film absorbed differently by everyone who watches it.

I still haven't figured out how to put my feelings down in words, but this morning I found a song buried on my iTunes that chips away at the deep personal inquiry that Elah has stirred in me?

"War" by Haunt. (listen HERE)

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