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2 DAYS IN THE VALLEY, 1996
The film follows the events over 48 hours in the lives of a group of people who are drawn together by a murder.
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An offbeat multi character drama with black comedy, 2 Days in the Valley is a crafty film that elevates the performances of its B-list cast, with the exception of Theron, to places they have yet to experience as actors. Herzfield tries, but fails in trying to copy the Pulp Fiction style, however, he accomplishes in creating a dynamic story with lively characters each one with a unique point view that adds perspective to the general story.
Best or rather most memorable performance comes from Charlize Theron who is sexy and devilish with her amoral character. Thereís a fight scene between Theron and Hatcher that will surely be talked about as being one the grittiest catfight in cinema history. Itís honestly one of the most entertaining part of the film, and the film is general is seriously entertaining.
2 Days in the Valley is broken up with the ensemble cast each one with their own storyline that intersects into each others, eventually becoming one whole story. The pros is that some stories are engaging enough to help balance out the ones that are not as strong, and that one of the cons in regards to multi layered stories. Not all are as compelling as the last and can weaken the film. But Herzfield manages to maintain a strong plot that gets more interesting leading to a dramatic climax.
Spader, known for playing sinister characters, is in familiar territory going up against Danny Aielloís more incompetent hero, Dosmo Pizzo. The two are hitmen, however, after Spader betrays Aiello during a botched assassination attempt, the former tries tracking him down to finish the job. Lee Woods (Spade0r is great as the wicked killer whose routine involves using a stopwatch to time his victims last 60 seconds of their life just before he kills them. Itís a taunting tactic that amuses him.
The films black comedy is spread thin appropriately covering the darker aspects of the film creating a nice balance between the dramatic parts and the lighter humor. Aielloís storyline is funniest one in the film with a nice romance brewing between him and the tortured assistant, Susan Parish (Headly) who is constantly bombarded with insults from her boss, Allan Hopper (Cruttwell) until Aiello comes into the scene.
The most sympathetic character is certainly Teddy Peppers (Mazursky) who is a down and out TV producer on the verge of suicide. But he is unable to go through with it, knowing he would be leaving his dog alone. Mazursky has some nice touching moments.
Jeff Daniels is the only character that appears out of place. Everyoneís story connects at some point however his is left alone, never seems to be quite as important as the others. His scenes with Stolz are less than entertaining as the two bicker back and forth but it never leads anywhere.
2 Days in the Valley is not perfect. At times it drags without leading to anything particular that feels relevant. However, the strongest parts of the film are through the solid performances from the actors such as Mazursky, Theron, and Spader, all engaging to watch. Itís not exactly Tarantino quality, although it certainly makes an effort; however, Herzfield creates a film with enough humor and drama to provide for an entertaining and comedic picture.
2 DAYS IN THE VALLEY