2 Days in the Valley

Movie Review By Anthony Leong © Copyright 1997

Look, I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I spent a large part of my childhood being brought up in a trailer park. My father abandoned us. My mother couldn't even afford to send me to college! I might be an asshole, but I worked VERY HARD to become one!
Well you definitely achieved your goal!

Dosno (Danny Aiello) is a hired gun that is afraid of dogs involved in a bizarre murder plot and left for dead. Lee (James Spader) and Helga (Charlize Theron) are the killers that used Dosno for their patsy and left him for dead. Becky (Teri Hatcher) is an Olympic skier who is the ex-wife of the victim of the murder plot. Wes (an almost unrecognizable Eric Stoltz) is a detective recently-transferred to the Vice Squad and Alvin (an almost unrecognizable Jeff Daniels) is his bitter and world-weary partner-- they are trying to bust an oriental massage parlor. Teddy (Paul Mazursky) is a suicidal writer/director who decides that today is a good day to die. Audrey (Marsha Mason) is a nurse that likes war movies. Susan (Glenne Headley) is the homely personal secretary of the aforementioned asshole. For two days in the valley, their lives will intersect. Some will live, some will die; some will find hope, some will lose it; some will redeem themselves, and some will commit themselves to a lifetime of eternal damnation.

He doesn't mean anything by it... it's just part of his nature to becruel... don't take any offense.

This is a odd derivative of film noir, full of betrayal, strange characters, quirky dialogue, though not as sharp as what everyone has compared it to, "Pulp Fiction". In a series of coincidences, these characters come together and the disparate stories all come to a resolution. However, unfortunately, in a movie such as this, where the plot is actually comprised of many subplots, some of these subplots get lost along the way. For example, the exploration of Jeff Daniels' character seems oddly incomplete. The story of Wes and the masseuse he likes is also demands for some kind of resolution.

It's been my experience that a loser has more honor than a winner.

For those of you expecting another "Pulp Fiction", you may be disappointed. About the only Tarantino-esque aspects you may find in this film are some interesting lines that are far and few between and a portrayal of criminals and killers as average Joes with their own quirks, moral code, and sense of decency. There is no non-linear derivative and the violence is relatively tame. Instead of the inventive camera work that usually graces the Tarantino-school-of-film-making, "2 Days in the Valley" comes off looking more like a made-for-TV movie.

The bottom line: it's okay.

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