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Down in the Valley

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Editorial Reviews

Set in the present-day San Fernando Valley, the project revolves around a delusional man who believes he's a cowboy and the relationship that he starts with a rebellious young woman. Well received indie feature stars Edward Norton, Evan Rachel Wood, David Morse, Bruce Dern, and Rory Culkin.

Special Features

  • Filmmaker and actor Q&A
  • Deleted scenes
  • Trailer
  • The Making of Down in the Valley
  • Filmmaker and Actor Commentary

Product Details

  • Actors: Edward Norton, Evan Rachel Wood, David Morse, Rory Culkin, Bruce Dern
  • Directors: David Jacobson
  • Writers: David Jacobson
  • Producers: Edward Norton, Adam Rosenfelt, Bill Migliore, Holly Wiersma, Joseph P. Genier
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Velocity / Thinkfilm
  • DVD Release Date: September 26, 2006
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GDH9NM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,947 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Down in the Valley" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 5, 2006
Format: DVD
Imperfect and overlong, somewhat stretched and overwrought, Down in the Valley is still a beautifully acted and potent take on a dysfunctional working class family and a naïve drifter - bordering the edges of sociopathic derangement - who ends up powerfully affecting their lives.

Set firmly amongst the freeways, tract-homes and the urban landscape of the San Fernando Valley, Down in the Valley centers on the character of Harlen (Ed Norton), a type of suburban cowboy, who lives in a netherworld of cowboy fantasies and rambles the Valley tipping his dopey hat to the ladies and promising skeptics he will earn their trust.

Harlen lives in a shabby motel, and when bored, pretends he's in Western movie shootouts playing with his guns and lassoing the kitchen chairs. He's been working as a gas station attendant that is until he meets the equally unmoored Tobe (Evan Rachel Wood). Tobe is the defiant and languorously beautiful teenage daughter of a local jail sheriff (hunky David Morse) and Harlan courts her with a cool self-composure.

Of course, from our eyes - and from Tobe's father's - Harlen is nothing but a white trash loser, a dolt who's probably verging on the edge of sanity. But the lovely Tobe doesn't see him this way and she falls for his old-world and romantic cowboy ways when he's actually more innocent and psychologically even younger than Tobe.

Harlen is in reality a child, a man out of place "down in the valley," this land of fast-paced activity, modern rules and where people never get out of their cars. Yet he's also impetuous and manipulative and often acts on the spur of the moment without thinking of the consequences.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ben F. Small on October 22, 2006
Format: DVD
Nice, charming Harlan, played superbly by Ed Norton, a gas station attendant from out of town who's never been to the beach takes a ride from the nubile girl with 'gumption" according to her booding father, played by David Morse. But the beautiful and comely October is underage, and Papa doesn't like the older and somewhat weird Norton dating October, so he forbids their liasons. But Harlan doesn't take no for an answer, and when he can't find October, he settles for her little brother, taking the young boy on another stolen horse ride and teaching him how to shoot .45 revolvers.On their return, Daddy is waiting, and pulls a gun on Harlan, threatens he'll use it if Harlan ever darkens their door again. Harlan responds by breaking into the home, stealing October's Daddy's .45 and packing her a bag. But October won't leave. Tempers fly and October is shot. Harlan tells October's brother October was shot by their father, and that only Harlan can rescue the boy from being a ward of the state. Another horse is stolen, and Harlan and the boy are on the run from the cops and October's father through the hills above the San Fernando Valley. Shots are fired and people go down. But Harlan and the boy are still on the run, and October's wounded father is hot on their heels.

This movie charms and frightens the viewer. Harlan's progression into madness is slow and masked by his easy going nature, his simple humor and by his easy smile. But underneath, Harlan is seething, roiling in a world that doesn't fit him. A cowboy out of his element. A dead shot with a lightning quick draw. Harlan knows he's going to die, and he's determined to take some people with him.

Meanwhile, the children's father is finding ways to bridge the resentments which have split his family apart over time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tsuyoshi on June 19, 2006
Format: DVD
In `Down in the Valley' Edward Norton again shows his talent as one of the best actors in his generation, who can create a credible portrait of an apparently implausible character. Here Ed Norton plays one Harlan, who speaks and behaves like a cowboy even though he is living in modern-day San Fernando Valley. Actually, Harlan seems to think that he is truly a character (and of course a Shane-like heroic one) coming directly out of good, old Western films

When a beautiful and spirited teenager Tobe (Evan Rachel Wood), bored with the life there (and especially the life with her father or dysfunctional family), meets this charismatic guy working at a gas station, they fall in love with each other almost instantly. Tobe's younger brother Lonnie (Rory Culkin) also likes Harlan because of his free-spirited attitudes, but Harlan's unconventional behaviors (like riding a horse in the Valley) could be not only a joyful experience to Tobe and Lonnie, but also something much different than they had expected.

Bruce Dern is also seen in a minor role as an angry horse owner.

I do not give away much about the story, but I only say this. As Tobe's protective father (David Morse) understands, Harlan and his fantasy could be dangerous to the ones around him, and the film, which looks like a quirky romance about the incongruous couple in the first half, becomes suddenly more serious in the second. The gap between them is considerable though it is, I suppose, exactly what the writer/director David Jacobson wants to do. Still I am not sure that the downside of someone's fantasy could be or should be like this.
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