''Film/InTheValleyOfElah'' is a 2007 drama written and directed by Paul Haggis and starring Creator/TommyLeeJones, Creator/CharlizeTheron, and Susan Sarandon. The film follows Hank Deerfield (Jones), a former MP whose son goes AWOL shorty after his company returns from Iraq. Knowing how much stress his son was under, Hank decides to drive to the base and try to find his son himself. Not long afterwards, however, he discovers [[spoiler:his son has been murdered]], and finds himself working with a local police officer (Theron) to investigate.

Despite strong reviews and an AcademyAward nomination for TommyLeeJones, the film was a financial disappointment, due mostly to the fact that, at the time, films about TheWarOnTerror were still considered to be an AudienceAlienatingPremise. Also notable is the [[FlameBait incredibly controversial]] final shot of the film, which is arguably more infamous than the film itself.

!'''This Film Contains examples of:'''
* BasedOnATrueStory / RippedFromTheHeadlines
* BookEnds: [[spoiler: Hank helping a groundskeeper to raise a flag. At the beginning, it's a flag in good working order that's been mistakenly displayed upside down, as in the International Symbol of Distress. At the end, a TatteredFlag is hung upside down ''on purpose''.]]
* ChekhovsGun: [[spoiler:The package Hank's son sent home]].
* ChekhovsGunman: In an absolute {{Tearjerker}} of an example, [[spoiler:the nervous woman who Sanders brushes off early in the movie is later murdered by her husband]].
* DaChief: Chief Buchwald
* {{Determinator}}: Hank WILL find out what happened to his son, and lord help you if you get in his way.
* TheCSIEffect: Invoked; When Hank starts hanging around crime scenes and asking questions, Detective Sanders asks Hank if really knows anything about police work, or if he just watches a lot of crime shows. He replies that he's a retired Military Police.
* EnhanceButton: A variation. Hank gives his son's cell phone to a local tech wiz so he can help restore some of the corrupted video files.
* FriendOnTheForce: Sanders becomes this to Hank.
* HeroicBSOD: Joan [[spoiler:when she's informed of her son's death]]. Hank, too, albiet [[TheStoic in a more subdued fashion]].
* UsefulNotes/TheKoreanWar: Where Hank served.
* MetaCasting: Several of the actors who played soldiers in the film had served in Iraq themselves.
* NeverTrustATrailer: The trailers made the film out to look like a military conspiracy thriller rather than a low-key murder mystery/drama.
* ObligatoryWarCrimeScene: [[spoiler:Hank's son is shown torturing a captured Iraqi, apparently just to blow off steam]].
* PoliticallyIncorrectHero: Hank spouts some rather derogatory statements at Ortiz, but that could just be simply because he was mad at him rather than true bigotry.
* RedHerring: [[spoiler: alleged Mexican drug traffickers may have been trying to silence Hank's son. Hank even blames one of the guys in Mike's outfit.]]
* TheReveal: Two fold: [[spoiler:who killed Hank's son]] and [[spoiler:what was on his son's phone]].
* RetiredBadass: Hank
* ShellShockedVeteran: Most of the military characters, and arguably Hank, too.
* SherlockScan: Hank is considerably more competent at crime scene investigation than most of the local police.
* TheStoic: Hank, again.
* TatteredFlag: See BookEnds above.
* [[spoiler:TheresNoKillLikeOverkill]]: [[spoiler: Hank's son is stabbed ''more than fifty times''. That they can ''tell''. And that's ''before'' his body was set on fire.]]
* TitleDrop: When Hank tells Sanders' son the story of David and Goliath.
* UnresolvedSexualTension: Between Sanders and Buchwald.
* WarIsHell: And it doesn't stop when you get home.
* WhatMightHaveBeen: The role of Hank was written with Creator/ClintEastwood in mind, but Eastwood didn't want to act in somebody else's movie and recommended Creator/TommyLeeJones for the part instead.
* TheWarOnTerror
* YouLookFamiliar: The film shares several cast members with ''NoCountryForOldMen'', and both films were also shot by Roger Deakins.