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65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: When Harlan Carruthers (Norton), a charismatic cowboy who seems as if he would be much more at home in Monument Valley than in the San Fernando Valley, has a chance encounter with Tobe (Wood), a bored and restless suburban teenager, both of their lives are turned upside down. (ThinkFilm)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. 91
    It's mysterious and bold at every turn, and refreshingly removed from the commonplace.
  2. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    88
    The movie belongs to Wood, who creates a unique portrait of a girl hesitating at the threshold of womanhood; she's smarter, more attuned, and more spiritually ambitious than those around her, but also too decent and loyal to break from the world she knows-and too unformed to have a grasp of what she wants outside of that world. It's fantastic work.
  3. 80
    A psychotic we can't help falling for, Edward Norton's beautifully drawn and richly nuanced dreamer could, in time, prove to be one of the most memorable movie characters of recent years.
  4. As it progresses, the film takes us to another borderland, that between reality and delusion. This is where Harlan's mind freely gallops.
  5. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    60
    For a film that has allegedly undergone extensive tinkering following its premiere at last year's Cannes Film Festival, Down in the Valley abounds in nagging loose ends and suffers overall from logy pacing.
  6. The movie turns into something strange and annoying, an attempted blend of a suburban thriller with an Old West shoot-'em-up.
  7. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    40
    Never has the term 'American Independent' so obviously been code for 'wholly miserable experience'.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 14
  2. Negative: 6 out of 14
  1. Orson
    Jun 9, 2006
    10
    Why don't people "get" this picture? Because they're too dense to believe in a delusional psychotic cowboy that isn't as technicolor as the villains in "Silence of The Lambs"? Could be. [***SPOILERS***] Mores the pity, because while I once met the real-life FBI serial murder profiler the latter film was based on, nobody will ever met a fictional sociopath like Dr. Lecter. By contrast, you and me and everyone else are very likely to meet, or already know, a small-time burglar who might graduate to serious life altering trouble with almost innocent intentions. Why? Because of their delusions - and there are many many people around us living with them. What Roger Ebert and others call the films "missteps" are actually efforts to take us inside the mind of a psychotic, to tease us with suggestions of his inner voices, visions, and vulnerably suffused ego-defenses. This is what makes the film so fascinating, while others simply don't get it. Although someone dies with their boots on, it simply isn't a film that tries to marry a Western with neo-noir (as the Christian Science Monitor critic put it). Rather, the story updates Kirk Douglas in "Lonely Are The Brave," marrying him with Laura Dern in "Smooth Talk." Yet, it also begins with and goes to different places than either could have. For one thing, Tobe is the seducer, not the seduced! For another, she is forced to play the adult repeatedly, as in so many broken homes, to the two protagonists dominating her life - her dad and her lover. As the Baltimore Sun's perceptive critic Michael Sragow says: "Through much of Down in the Valley," the film-makers "do exactly what movie artists should do: transport audiences to risky places with deceptive ease, gliding on feeling and intuition." Harlan "creates a walking pocket of calm in the dull suburban roar" that is Tobe's life. I'm seduced. And I can't wait to see it again. Expand
  2. JamieW.
    Jun 19, 2006
    10
    A highly under-rated film. Simply wonderful.
  3. patriziap.
    Aug 8, 2008
    10
    I love this movie and I think edward norton is the best actor in the world! to Liz: norton può avere un grande ego ma ha anche un enorme talento che voi americani non sapete appezzare. Expand
  4. JordanS.
    Aug 23, 2006
    4
    It really doesn't matter how visually interesting this film may or may not be. The fact is, the script is as dull and plodding as the script of this guy's last movie, DAHMER. If we had a nickel for every director who knew how to move a camera or create an arresting image, we'd all be able to retire. But how many of them can write? Not many. And how many can really get a great performance out of a willful, self-absorbed actor like Edward Norton? Again, not many. Certainly David Jacobsen doesn't manage to pull it off. The entire film has the feel of being hijacked by its leading actor, much to the detriment of the whole. The conceit of this neo-western is as hackneyed as some of the ideas behind the Hollywood blockbusters DOWN IN THE VALLEY so studiously attempts to avoid replicating. After a promising first half hour or so, it all goes downhill in a pile of bizarre cliches and self-conscious pontificating about the nature of contemporary American society. Another user comment suggests that audiences just aren't smart enough to "get" this movie. I suggest that some of us are too smart to fall for its rather obvious and literal attempts to be "artful." Take a look at BADLANDS again. That film is exactly what DOWN IN THE VALLEY would like to be, but falls way short of in its blatant mimicry. Expand
  5. RichR.
    Oct 29, 2006
    3
    Started out interestingly, I'll give it that. Edward Norton? One of our best young actors, no doubt about it. But this just imploded about 2/3 of the way through. Sorry. I really wanted to like this movie. Plus the Dad part was really dumb. The girl was good, though. The little brother? Boring, with bad hair to boot. Expand
  6. KenG.
    Jun 9, 2006
    3
    A mess. One of those movies that couldn't make up its mind what it wanted to be, so it ended up a sloppy hodgepodge of 5 ot 6 different movies. Movie wasn't really sucessful in it's first half, but in the second half it becomes ever more ridiculous to the point where you realize that filmmakers just stopped caring about the believeability of their story. Expand
  7. MartinG.
    May 26, 2006
    1
    Joins my worst list for 2006--even Edward Norton can save it. paul salent should never again be permitted to wite and/or sing a song.

See all 14 User Reviews