2 Days in the Valley

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2 Days in the Valley
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Herzfeld
Produced byHerb Nanas
Jeff Wald
Written byJohn Herzfeld
Music byAnthony Marinelli
CinematographyOliver Wood
Edited byJim Miller
Wayne Wahrman
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • September 27, 1996 (1996-09-27)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$11,132,900

2 Days in the Valley is a 1996 American crime film written and directed by John Herzfeld. It depicts 48 hours in the lives of a group of people in the San Fernando Valley who are drawn together by a murder.


Two hitmen, Lee Woods (James Spader) and Dosmo Pizzo (Danny Aiello), walk into a bedroom where a sleeping couple, aspiring Olympic athlete Becky Foxx (Teri Hatcher) and her ex-husband Roy Foxx (Peter Horton) are in bed. Lee injects Becky with a tranquilizer then shoots Roy in the head. Lee and Dosmo then drive to an abandoned area off Mulholland Drive, where Lee shoots Dosmo and blows up the car in order to set Dosmo up as the fall guy for the murder. Lee flees the scene with his girlfriend, Helga Svelgen (Charlize Theron).

Dosmo was wearing a bulletproof vest and survived the shooting and car explosion. He seeks shelter at the mansion of wealthy art dealer, Allan Hopper (Greg Cruttwell) where he takes Hopper and his assistant, Susan Parish (Glenne Headly) hostage. Dosmo is unaware that Hopper has called his sister, Audrey Hopper (Marsha Mason) a nurse, to come to the house. On her way, Audrey picks up Teddy Peppers (Paul Mazursky) a down-and-out TV producer contemplating suicide.

Meanwhile, Becky awakens and discovers Roy's body in bed beside her. She runs from her house and flags down two detectives, young, ambitious Wes Taylor (Eric Stoltz) and cynical veteran Alvin Strayer (Jeff Daniels) who are driving by. Although he is sympathetic, Wes begins to suspect that Becky knows more than she is saying. Becky, who had hired Lee and Dosmo to kill Roy for $30,000, was unaware that they would kill Roy in her own house. Lee goes back to the house to get the money, encounters homicide detectives Creighton (Keith Carradine) and Carla Valenzuela (Ada Maris) working the crime scene, and kills them both. Wes decides to return to the crime scene to see if he can offer any insight on the case. Masquerading as one of the detectives, Lee lures Wes outside, intending to kill him.

Becky and Helga get into an argument, which escalates into a fight. After being smashed over the head with a vase by Becky, Helga reaches across the bed to grab her gun from her purse, but Becky realizes this and runs and grabs the gun as well to prevent herself from being shot. In a confused fight for the gun, Helga ends up getting shot and wounded, after which Becky escapes from the hotel with Helga shooting at her from the doorway of the room multiple times but missing with each shot. Helga finds her way to Becky's house, where Lee has knocked Wes unconscious. Lee reluctantly decides to kill Helga instead of taking her to the hospital, concluding that her wound is too severe to be treated, but his gun jams. He turns to retrieve Wes's gun but finds that Helga has escaped and has flagged down a passing car containing Dosmo and his hostages. Audrey jumps out of the car and tries to help the dying Helga, but Helga dies on the roadside.

Wes is caught in the middle of a shootout between Dosmo and Lee, and is shot in the legs. Just before Lee can kill Dosmo, Teddy shoots Lee, killing him.

A grateful Wes allows Dosmo to take the $30,000 and escape with Susan, the following day, Teddy shows up to an anniversary party that Audrey is attending. As Susan and Dosmo drive down a highway, Dosmo contemplates using the money to start a pizzeria in Brooklyn; Susan smiles and he kisses her.



The film was given mixed reviews from critics, with a 59% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 54 reviews. Writing in The New York Times, Stephen Holden wrote the film "lacks the humanity of Short Cuts or the edgy hipness of Pulp Fiction, but it is still a sleek, amusingly nasty screen debut by a filmmaker whose television credits include an Amy Fisher melodrama."[1] Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four on his rating scale, saying that it "looks like a crime movie, but crime is the medium, not the message".[2] Teri Hatcher's performance earned her a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actress.[3]

Music and Score[edit]

Jerry Goldsmith composed an original orchestral score for 2 Days in the Valley that was rejected in post-production. The released film features a rock-oriented score composed by Anthony Marinelli. Goldsmith's score was released in complete form by the soundtrack label Intrada Records in 2012.[4] A track was used from Waterlily Acoustic's album, Mumtaz Mahal, featuring Taj Mahal, Chitravina N. Ravikiran and Vishwa Mohan Byatt.


  1. ^ Holden, Stephen (September 27, 1996). "2 Days in the Valley (1996) His Blood Is Colder Than Ice". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Ebert, Roger (September 27, 1996). "Reviews: 2 Days in the Valley". Roger Ebert. Archived from the original on April 15, 2014. Retrieved April 14, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Errico, Marcus (February 10, 1997). "Golden Raspberries Razz Demi". E! Online.
  4. ^ Fake, Douglas (June 11, 2012). "2 DAYS IN THE VALLEY (UNUSED SCORE)". Intrada.com.

External links[edit]