Monday, June 12, 2006
Another recent film that will probably be found at the art houses is DOWN IN THE VALLEY which is a bit too long at 125 minutes (rated "R"). It is also a downer but it contains some very good acting by Edward Norton, Evan Rachel Wood, Rory Culkin, and David Morse. Norton plays Harlan Carruthers to the hilt as a cowboy from South Dakota who, somehow, has wound up in the San Fernando Valley. He is a rope carrying, cowboy hat wearing, western epithet speaking character that is totally out of place in this "gag me with a spoon" environment. While working in a full service gas station (those still exist somewhere?) He meets Tobe (Wood), a gorgeous typical SFV teenager, and her girlfriends as they are on their way to the beach. Tobe invites Harlan along and, after one thing leads to another, they fall in love. Harlan seems like a good, albeit naive, guy but Tobe’s father (Morse) detects another side to him and discourages his daughter from seeing him. Harlan’s intensified feelings for Tobe and dislike of her father, start the story in another direction.