Movie Review: In A Valley Of Violence finds Ti West stumbling outside of horror

Denton, a dusty, one-saloon town that once served a silver mine, long since been forgotten by both God and commerce. There’s a general store, an empty hotel (“the whores left with the silver”), and not much else to do, other than drink at that one saloon. This is the personal fiefdom of Clyde Martin (John Travolta, approximating a twang by talking like he has his jaw wired shut), a one-legged lawman who now keeps his badge in his pocket on account of the pin having broken off; his tendency toward long-winded speech suggests the symbolism of his station is now lost on him. But then in rides a bedraggled stranger (Ethan Hawke, committed as in all of his countless latter-day genre movie roles), accompanied by a dog. He gives his name as Paul, and in the space of about an hour, he manages to humiliate the marshal’s doofus …

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