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Down in the Valley

Promising story, quality acting
By PEG ALOI  |  May 10, 2006
3.0 3.0 Stars

Down in the Valley
DOWN IN THE VALLEY: Wood and Norton

Writer/director David Jacobson gathered a top-notch cast for this thriller about a trashy teen and her inscrutable lothario. Tobe (Thirteen’s Evan Rachel Wood) is headed to the beach with her friends when she boldly invites Harlan (Edward Norton), a cowpoke poseur, to come along. Soon he’s buying her dresses, pushing her in swings, and meeting her family. Dad Wade (David Morse), a prison guard, is on to Harlan, seeing a dishonest drifter, but Tobe’s brother Lonnie (an amazing Rory Culkin) is charmed when Harlan takes him horseback riding and target shooting. Wade forbids Harlan to see his family, and as the couple’s efforts to meet grow desperate, Harlan’s cool façade slips and his past catches up with him. This promising, complex story stumbles at the end, but the actors almost save it (Norton and Wood especially, and nice cameos from Bruce Dern and Ty Burrell), and the Western iconography is just clever enough.
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