In a Valley of Violence (2016) stars Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, Taissa Farmiga and Karen Gillan, The film is directed by Ti West (The Sacrament, The Innkeepers, V/H/S), in his second non-horror directorial effort. It's executive produced by Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity).

In A Valley of Violence is a fairly atypical western revenge film, that's just offbeat enough to be unique.

The opening act is a slow grind that keeps you somewhat on the edge of your seat as we watch Paul (Hawke) and Abby (Jumpy, the stunt dog) head into a desolate town.

Paul tells Abby to try not to start any trouble, and then mutters that goes for himself as well. But of course, one thing leads to another and Paul gets himself in trouble, once again.

But this time, one deed leads to more issues and Paul ends up going on a revenge spree for what the local dimwits end up doing.


I pretty much enjoy most of Ethan Hawke's work, and this time around, it's not much different. He plays a weary, gravely voiced traveler and does not give away his true talents, even under duress.

As an anti-hero, Hawke does not play the dark clad or daring man who strides bravely into town on a vendetta. No... he plays a flawed man who has seen enough killing and it takes an extreme situation to push him to this state of mind. Throughout the second and third acts, you watch his flawed mode of revenge. Driven to do that which he desperately does not want to do, but has to.

Travolta plays the stern but level-headed local Marshal who understands the situation that Paul initially got himself involved in, and gives him the chance to leave town without incident. But his son pushes the boundaries of intelligence beyond reasonable doubt and the Marshal finds himself in his own challenge of a situation. Travolta's portrayal of this flawed war veteran is unique and yet, not. It's Travolta in a western film. But if you like his characterizations of unique characters, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Karen Gillan definitely goes out there with this one.

Most everyone else fulfills their job, while West directs an interesting combination of interesting and dreadful, all at once. Scenes with Paul and his dog draw out funny and cute moments, which drives home other moments even deeper than necessary.

Once the revenge act kicks in, it's pretty much on par with most revenge flicks. But if you're an Ethan Hawk fan, I think you will enjoy this new depth or dimension that Hawke dives in to.

This film doesn't really break any real new barriers, but it has Jumpy the Dog in the first act and it's cute to watch him. And if you pay attention to how they present the opening and closing credits, you'll understand immediately that West is preparing you for a B-rated film, so there's no disappointment.

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