After the tragic events of 9/11 happened two things were made clear, Hollywood was going to make some pictures about the event and the world refused to accept the fate that the terrorists handed down to the world. So the question has to be begged, why is only half of the former mentioned aftermath coming after mass shootings? There have been countless movies about school shootings, mass shootings, and the alike and were now training children how to hide under bullet proof objects instead of doing something? I’ll leave the politics there, because this is not the place to hash out politics, but Peace in the Valley begs the question of how do we cope? How do we cope after senseless tragedy after senseless tragedy and when are we, as a collective society, allowed to move on with our lives and not live in constant fear?
Ashley who is played by Brit Shaw, her husband John played by Michael Abbott Jr and their son Jesse played by William Samiri, are all minding their own business while doing some grocery shopping. That is until a shooter enters the grocery store and opens fire. John, a former vet, rushes the shooter and unfortunately meets his demise while stopping the shooter from claiming any more victims. He died a hero, except Ashley does not see it that way and is now left to raise their son on her own and try and piece her life back together. Suddenly afterwards, John’s identical twin brother Billy, also played by Michael Abbott Jr, emerges into the picture and this forces Ashley to reconcile the reality that is in front of her. While all of this is going on, Jesse takes up an interest in hunting which is problematic for Ashley as she is still reeling from the events, as anyone would, and is weighing down on her harder than she initially anticipated. What Peace in the Valley shows the audience is even after the dust settles there is still so much recovery and pain, and life can never go back to normal.
It is rare for a performance to be so nuanced and so well acted that it leaves audiences rather speechless, but that is exactly what Brit Shaw accomplishes. She is revolutionary in her performance bringing such conviction and raw emotion to the forefront of her performance that audiences are just engulfed in her grief and emotion. William Samiri and Michael Abbott Jr. are both excellent in their roles however it is Brit Shaw’s vehicle to shine through, stealing every second of screen time she possesses. Peace in the Valley is arguably one of the most compelling and heart wrenching movies to come out this year and the more conversations we, as a society, can have about mass shootings and what we can do to prevent them the better.