Down in the Valley

December 9th, 2005


Down in the Valley

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Still of David Morse in Down in the ValleyStill of Edward Norton and Rory Culkin in Down in the ValleyKathleen LaGue at event of Down in the ValleyStill of Edward Norton and Evan Rachel Wood in Down in the ValleyStill of Edward Norton and Evan Rachel Wood in Down in the Valley

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.

Release Year: 2005

Rating: 6.5/10 (12,030 voted)

Critic's Score: 65/100

Director: David Jacobson

Stars: Edward Norton, Evan Rachel Wood, David Morse

Tobe is about 16, living with her dad and younger brother in LA's San Fernando Valley. She invites a gas station attendant named Harlan to come to the beach with her and her friends. He's from South Dakota, wears a cowboy hat, talks country, and has been a ranch hand. They have a great time, his simple expressions seem like wisdom, he's attentive and polite, and even though he's more than twice her age, she wants to spend time with him. When her father objects, she rebels. Harlan, meanwhile, thinks she's his soul mate, and he starts making plans to get her away from her father. Worlds are set to collide, but which ones?

Edward Norton - Harlan
Evan Rachel Wood - Tobe
David Morse - Wade
Rory Culkin - Lonnie
Bruce Dern - Charlie
John Diehl - Steve
Geoffrey Lewis - Sheridan
Elizabeth Peña - Gale
Kat Dennings - April
Hunter Parrish - Kris
Aviva - Sherri
Aaron Fors - Jeremy
Heather Ashleigh - Shell
Jennifer Echols - Rita
Cesar Flores - Hispanic Kid (as Cesar D. Flores)

Taglines: Sometimes it's hard to find your way...


Official Website: Icon Film Distribution [uk] | Metropolitan [France] |

Release Date: 9 December 2005

Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $22,806 (USA) (7 May 2006) (3 Screens)

Gross: $568,695 (USA) (6 August 2006)

Technical Specs

Runtime: Japan:  | USA:  | Argentina:

Did You Know?

The $8 million budget was financed by a wealthy producer-financier, Sam Nazarian of Element Films.

Revealing mistakes: One of the revolvers in Wade's wall collection is actually a non-firing display model of the Colt Peacemaker. This is evidenced by the horizontal slots in the rear of the cylinder, between the cylinder's flutes. Real Peacemakers do not have such slots.

Harlan: I've tried living down in the valley again, really tried this time. Walked up and down it looking for one open face, but most people I've meet hardly seem like human beings to me anymore.

User Review

Challenging and Rewarding

Rating: 10/10

I had the opportunity to see this film at Cannes and then again at it's 'real' debut at the LA Film Festival. What a difference! Apparently the filmmakers were anxious to get to Cannes and had not finished the editing. Although I liked it before-- this version really hits the spot without the confusing extras that were still at Cannes. I'm glad I gave it a second chance and in fact I'm now anxious to see it again when it's released. The film is very layered and subtle. It is beautifully shot and the four main characters are original and yet painfully familiar in their alienation, anger, and despair. The Cowboy character played by Edward Norton seems so simple at first but as he is drawn into the family his character and the truth of his 'being' gradually unravels in ways that left me speechless at the end of the film. The character played by Rory Culkin, "Twig", says very little throughout the film and yet he conveys a sense of yearning and loneliness almost too painful to bare. But even he undergoes an unexpected transformation by the end of the film. My favorite though, was Evan Rachel Wood. I think she steals the show... without trying at all. Her emotions and rebelliousness are raw and totally authentic. She is a luminous creature on the screen. Her relationship with the Cowboy seemed unlikely at first and then became completely believable, especially in the bathtub scene. My main criticism is that the film is demanding. If you're not in the mood to sink into a fairly deep experience with some shocking moments and unpredictable outcomes--don't waste your time. This is a film for lovers of independent film and psychological kinds of cinema. There are also several scenes that border on surrealism. I'd be interested to know more about the making of this film and look forward to the DVD. I imagine this film may take awhile to be discovered but it holds tremendous rewards for those patient and thoughtful enough to venture into it.


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