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Mission: Control

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Jacobson doesn’t spell out what binds the couple, but the underpinnings are there. The cowboy, Harlan, is the opposite of Tobe’s overbearing corrections- officer father (David Morse). He’s not a creature of the Valley: His eyes are on the mountains, above the smog line. When he takes her out on the horse of a rancher he once worked for, the ride is so transporting that she can’t even process it when the cranky old man (Bruce Dern) claims to have no idea who Harlan is. The best thing about Down in the Valley is that you hope it’s not going where you have an inkling it’s going. The purity of Norton’s madness is a wonder.

Mission: Impossible III
Directed by J. J. Abrams. Paramount. PG-13.

Down in the Valley
Directed by David Jacobson. ThinkFilm. R.

E-mail: filmcritic@newyorkmag.com.


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