Urban Cowboy

Editor's note—Down in the Valley is reviewed here.

So it's no real surprise that, as it moves towards its surrealistic climax—an old West horseback pursuit through a decidedly new West suburban community—Down in the Valley evolves from Western homage into a troubled consideration of the gunslinger as nonconformist archetype and of the dangerous pull of movie illusion. “I was definitely thinking a lot about that,” Jacobson says, “about how fantasy and imagination are both vital to our existence but, if taken too far, can become incredibly destructive. For some people, it becomes hard to draw that line, and yet you can't really say to someone, 'Don't use your imagination.' Just as you can't tell someone who needs to go on a diet to stop eating.”

With Down in the Valley riding into theaters a full year after its premiere at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, Jacobson is about to trade his chaps and spurs for some prison blues, as he prepares to film the life story of Billy Wayne Sinclair, the convicted murderer and Angola inmate turned self-taught jailhouse lawyer and whistle-blowing prison reformer. And after that, a pair of tap shoes may just be in order. “I do love musicals,” Jacobson says with a crooked smile. “In fact, with almost every movie I've done—even Dahmer—there's a point where I stop and go, 'Wait! This could actually be a really good musical.'” 

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