Way Down Yonder in the Valley
Let me preface this review by saying, I am not much into the art house type films. I do not watch a bunch of "independent films." My fiance is the reason that I saw this movie. So, take this review with a grain of salt if you so desire.
In an interview, Norton stated that this movie was one of his favorites. He would put this up with American History X, Fight Club, and 25th Hour. For those of us who enjoyed his performances in these movies, this sounded good. Let me note, I did not like 25th Hour. I was expecting a breathtaking role and performance from Norton based on his own words. I was let down. The role of Harlan (Norton), could have been played by anyone, not just Norton. His girlfriend Tobe (Wood), was no better. Though I am told, that she is "big" in the independent movie world. I personally cannot confirm that. Lonnie, played by poor little Rory Culkin was the EXACT same character that he was in Signs.
The only role that stood out to me was that of David Morse as the unapproving father.The story itself was nothing new. Dad does not approve of daughter's choice in men. Daughter decides to defy parent. Boyfriend "loves" daughter. Conflict ensues at every turn. This movie showed me nothing new. I was bored for most of it. The final gun battle was, well, more of a water pistol fight. The scenery was nice and beautiful. It reminded me a lot of the Brokeback-type scenery.
The only scene in which I was deeply impressed was a scene in the woods in the middle of the night. Harlan was creepy, Lonnie was scared, and the shadows, music, and camera work helped to enhance all of this.I did, however, enjoy seeing John Diehl on the big screen, but that is just the Miami Vice in me talking.
Verdict: All in all, I would advice renting this movie as opposed to spending the $10 to see it in theaters.