Two Days in the Valley (18)

Directed by John Herzfeld

Starring Danny Aiello, James Spader, Eric Stoltz, Jeff Daniels,Teri Hatcher, Paul Mazursky, Glenne Headley, Greg Crutwell, Peter Horton

Quentin Tarentino has a lot to answer for! This episodic crime/drama owes a lot to QT in its stylish portrayal of hitmen,the ensemble cast and the black humour that runs through it.
It opens with two hitmen (now where have we sen that before?) on a job. These days, people are rarely just shot in films. Here poor Peter Horton gets the bullet and his wife Teri Hatcher gets sedated so she wakes up covered in blood and gore. However, this is no ordinary hit, and Aiello soon realizes he has been set up.
Meanwhile we follow failed film director Paul Mazursky as he decides to kill himself, but fate intervenes. We also see British, and therefore nasty, art dealer Crutwell and his put upon assisstant Headley. Cops Stoltz and Daniels also have their own backstory before they come upon Hatcher running down the road covered in blood.
All of these people come together eventually in the main plot, where conspiracy and double cross blend with cooking , toupees and love!
Derivative, yes, but this is a densely plotted, well made made film. The characterizations are good generally, and the actors blend together well. The plot twists and turns nicely, and the film moves along at a brisk pace. Aiello is always good, and brings heart to the role of the not terribly efficient hitman with a taste for pasta. His is the central role that links the other elements of the film together. 7/10

October 1996

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