2 Days in the Valley

My very dear reader, what can one say of a film that inspired Ebert to this: “All of these characters inhabit the San Fernando Valley, which is to Beverly Hills as hell is to Dante's Inferno”? Even the New York Times, which also named the usual suspects, waxed eloquent after its understanding of the art.

Herzfeld understands the implications of Huston’s technique in The Night of the Iguana, and applies it to his purposes. Beyond that, he appreciates Cassavetes’ treatment of night exteriors in Big Trouble. All of the actors respond thereby in their very best mettle, some perhaps for the first time, none ever better.

Consequently this is a masterpiece among the roster of Jerry Goldsmith’s unused scores. Let these notes serve as shorthand for a fuller analysis not very far from the inexpressible dullness of the Valley.

The Olympic hopeful (Teri Hatcher) in her gym clothes faces the up-tempo hit man (James Spader, in an impression of Farley Granger) in a motel room. He has a professional pistol with a silencer. His blonde bombshell (Charlize Theron) watches the Valley Olympian come to grips with the odd fellow in alternating close-ups, laughing at her sluggardliness all the while...