2 Days in the Valley (1996) / Thriller-Comedy
MPAA Rated: R for violence, sexuality, and language
Running Time: 104 min.
Cast: James Spader, Danny Aiello, Teri Hatcher, Eric Stoltz, Glenne Headly
Director: John Herzfeld
Screenplay: John Herzfeld
Review published April 27, 1997
2 Days in the Valley will probably forever be compared to Pulp Fiction, and probably rightly so. They both have an ensemble cast whose characters initially don't seem to have anything to do with each other, but as the film progresses, their lives intertwine to form the backbone of the story. 2 Days in the Valley also has its share of violence, colorful characters, and a great deal of humor. It may be an imitator, but that doesn't make it any less entertaining.
The storyline evolved through a series of circumstances happening over two days in Los Angeles, where ten very different people's lives change dramatically after a man is murdered in the house of his ex-wife by a couple of hit men.
2 Days in the Valley is both a terrific thriller and pithy comedy, and understandably is favorably compared to the works of Quentin Tarantino. However, while the influence cannot be denied, 2 Days achieves a refreshing style of its own. Sporting sparkling vivid characterizations, nice touches of humor, and likeable performances, it definitely is a much overlooked gem.
The film isn't without its share of flaws. While many of the characters are well-drawn and fun to watch, some are more entertaining than others, and you may occasionally wish the film would have cut out certain characters and beefed up others, depending on your opinion of the cast. There also are some subplots which are left unresolved by the end, which will further convince you of that fact.
However, the flaws are relatively minor, and for most viewers, easily put up with in order to enjoy the film as a whole. Next time you're in the video store and just can't seem to find that second or third movie to fill the evening or weekend with, I'd suggest looking out for this one for some fun and intriguing fare.
©1997 Vince Leo