Total Film - 06/01/2006
"The characters aren't cut-outs; they are people you need to get to know....DOWN IN THE VALLEY is vital and engaging: a journey you need to take."
New York Times - 05/05/2006
"Beautiful and rebellious, Ms. Wood's Tobe is almost as complex as Mr. Norton's Harlan....It leaves you pondering questions about the American character that continue to haunt us..."
Premiere - 05/01/2006 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "[A] poetic, moving picture about growing up absurd in southern California.....As great as the entire cast is, the movie belongs to Wood..."
Rolling Stone - 05/18/2006 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "[H]aunting and hypnotic....DOWN IN THE VALLEY dares you to explore the violence of the mind. Take the dare. It's something rare these days: untamed."
Entertainment Weekly - 05/19/2006
"DOWN IN THE VALLEY exudes a luscious sense of place -- the hazy L.A. boulevards, the landscape of urban tropicana invaded by too many industrial wires."
Sight and Sound - 06/01/2006
"From THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER to BADLANDS and TAXI DRIVER, DOWN IN THE VALLEY is full of classic film references."
Ultimate DVD - 05/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he movie satisfyingly fuses several genres and could almost be described as a Western version of TAXI DRIVER..."
Director David Jacobsen's DOWN IN THE VALLEY plays like a romantic, operatic lament for the disappearing cinematic and real-life icon: the American cowboy. Many of the elements that would fuse, say, a classic John Wayne character are present in Edward Norton's (PRIMAL FEAR, 25TH HOUR) character, Harlan Fairfax Caruthers: he's polite, soft-spoken, yet stubbornly brave and handy with Colt steel and lead. While at home in Death Valley in the mid 1800s, these characteristics are positively anachronistic in modern-day San Fernando Valley. How else to explain the reaction of a gaggle of giggling teenagers to Harlan as he pumps their gas' One of the teens, Tope (Evan Rachel Wood), is immediately attracted to these charms and invites Harlan along to the beach. A whirlwind romance follows, much to the chagrin of Tope's (short for October) father, Wade (David Morse), who senses there is more to Harlan than meets the eye. Indeed, things begin to unravel when Harlan lies about "borrowing" a horse from a local rancher that leads to a threat at gunpoint. To make matters worse, Harlan ingratiates himself more by spending time with Tope's attention-starved younger brother, Lonnie (Rory Culkin). Eventually, as more of the dangerous demons beneath Harlan's charming veneer reveal themselves, action must be taken and justice meted out, Old West-style. At times tense and, alternatively, quiet, DOWN IN THE VALLEY features some creative camera work from cinematographer Enrique Chediak that fits both moods. Also, be on the look-out for a scene-long quotation from TAXI DRIVER.
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