Such star power, Theron, Jones, Surandon, coupled with a compelling story, and yet, somehow it felt TVish in many regards.
The entire relationship between Jones, a former MP sargent looking for his awol son, and Theron's put upon female detective begs for better treatment. Sure, she sees in the injustice of this case her own battles against a male run department of good old boys who want nothing more than to collect a pay check; but inviting Jones into her homelife to such an extent seemed off, as if a writting contrivance to get Theron more into the film. Her performance makes it all the more an iffy proposition, as she comes off a bit too wrote.
Compare this to Surandon, who has a small role and totally disappears during the second half of the film, but nonetheless you never get the feeling that she was written into the film. Her part was superflous and yet the most powerful part of the film, showing a military mothers' acceptance of her role, and all the accompanying grief that follows. A great bit of filming was her looking through the open blinds at her son's remains, and then the military liason, whose mouth is blocked by a blind (subliminal imagery, yes!) denying her access to the room.
When Jones informs her of her 2nd son's demise and she begins to cry, he tells her that he can't keep listening to her sob on the phone like that; so she tells him not to listen and throws the phone across the room as she collapses into a corner. Powerful stuff, and a necessary juxtaposition to Jones' who carries his stiff upper lip to the extreme.
Jone's only reacts in true anger once, when demanding to see the body of his son, but otherwise is a study in military discipline, keeping his cool even while being screwed by the the very military that he dedicated his life to.
The film comes off as a well plotted mystery with a strong central charactor to anchor it, but the handling of Theron seemed too simple and hollywood - better writing would have not only made her charactor more real, but have raised the stakes of the film.