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Film / In a Valley of Violence

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In a Valley of Violence is a 2016 western film directed by Ti West, starring Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, James Ransone, Taissa Farmiga and Karen Gillan.

A mysterious stranger and a random act of violence drag a town of misfits and nitwits into the bloody crosshairs of revenge.

This movie contain examples of the following tropes:

  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Harris tries to Face Death with Dignity, while acknowledging that he's undercut himself by noting he has a daughter.
  • Animated Credits Opening: A la a Spaghetti Western from Sergio Leone.
  • Asshole Victim: The priest who tries to rob Paul at gunpoint, as well as the people who attack him and his dog later. Especially Gilly and Roy.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Paul had promised his dog he wouldn't kill anybody in Denton. He decides he has to break that promise when Gilly pushes him too far.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Even at the end Paul is still asking why Gilly would kill his dog. Trying to kill Paul himself, on the other hand, is completely understandable to him.
  • Bathtub Scene: Paul gets one in the first act of the film. Roy gets one later, which doesn't turn out as well for him.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Gilly, after getting punched by Paul.
  • Deadly Bath: Roy's overgrown beard results in Ellen sending in a shaving kit, but the straight razor doesn't get used for shaving.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Tubby. In his very last scene he gets fed up and insists that his name is Lawrence.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Gilly's father warns him that Paul is from one of the most dangerous military units the country has seen, but Gilly doesn't heed his warning.
  • Ghost Town: Mary-Anne explains away the lack of people in Denton by noting that most people left when the silver mine gave out, and more left because the Marshal and Gilly did a terrible job of running things. By the end of the film, the town may well follow the Marshal's prediction of dying without him.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Paul thinks of himself as a coward rather than a hero, but he's the hero within this film.
  • Kick the Dog: Gilly starts out as almost comical... until he kills Paul's dog. It all goes downhill from there.
  • May–December Romance: Averted, for the most part. Mary-Anne claims to be 16, and wants to run away with Paul, but he thinks she's young enough to be his daughter And he actually does have a wife and daughter that he abandoned to enlist in the Army, but has no plans to return to either.
  • Morality Pet: Literally the case for Abbie the dog. Paul only fights Gilly after he turns his attention to her, and once he and his gang kill her, he informs each of them that he'll kill them for it.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Gilly says he hopes Paul killed every Indian he came across, and that Gilly holds him in contempt for deserting the Indian Wars.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Mary-Anne thinks the Marshal and Gilly have both helped to ruin the town, but within the film we see the Marshal being the most reasonable antagonist to Paul.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Limited by the size of the cast populating the town, and also dragging in the Marshal, though he wanted to avoid this but also can't permit Paul to go murdering all his deputies.
  • Small Town Boredom: Part of why Mary-Anne is so interested in Paul and his dog.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Ellen tells her fiancee Gilly that she's pregnant right before he leaves to die in a gunfight.
  • Title Drop: Not precisely. Gilly says the place is called "the valley of violence", but the entire phrase is never said.
  • Token Good Teammate: Harris. The Marshal himself is far more reasonable than his son, but clearly hasn't done enough to prevent him from lording over the town with his toady friends.
  • War Is Hell: Paul has flashbacks to his service against Indian tribes. Marshal Martin lost his own leg in the service and sympathizes even with his decision to desert.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Gilly, when he's supposed to be protecting them in the last act.
  • Wretched Hive: When the nearby mine dried up, everybody who could leave left. The people who remained are either the town jerks or too undecided about whether or not to leave. The place is named "the valley of violence" by one of its inhabitants.
  • You Are Fat: "Tubby" is constantly subjected to fat jokes, even by people who are supposed to be his friends.