Recently I was contemplating making a list of my favorite scenes in film, but I decided that instead of just…
A History of Violence
Tom Stall had the perfect life... until he became a hero.
An average family is thrust into the spotlight after the father commits a seemingly self-defense murder at his diner.
Oh, that's why it's called A History of Violence. Before today I thought the film is about violent events spanning over a period of time, you know, a history of violence? Violence's history? Nevermind, I'm dumb.
The film? It's alright. Just like how they're selling it -- violent. Didn't know you can fuck up a person's face this bad with only your bare hands. Ed Harris is the boss. Aragorn is the boss's boss. (Everyone in the film seems to call him Tom. Yeah right, you're not fooling anyone. He's Aragorn.) Awesome performances throughout.
I think I should mention that this is my first Cronenberg film and I understand this is his least interesting work. A toned down Cronenberg, yes,…
From a violent and jarring crime tale to a humorous picture of normal small town life; from a genuine and tender marriage story to a dark and gritty comic book film; and from a mob tale to an emotional survivalist story, David Cronenberg's A History of Violence in all of its loops, shifts in tone and stirring emotion, is all around faultless. Even in its reputation as a mainstream departure, Cronenberg keeps a perfect handle on everything that defines him, and just possibly makes his masterpiece out of it.
Never once does the film feel commercial for the legendary auteur, only as clean, smooth and flowing as one director can make such a layered thematic tale into a film. The…
A couple years ago, this film was firmly in my Top 50. I haven't seen the film for a couple years now, and by the time I did my top 100 Letterboxd list, this was no where in sight. I've decided this film requires a rewatch.
This film is a delight from Cronenberg. It mixes various little film influences together into a great little story. But the film wouldn't work without the acting. Mortensen gives one of his best ever performances as a man with a deeply hidden past identity. Maria Bello is solid with some great acting scenes. Ashton Holmes gives a memorable teen performance as well.
Then you have Ed Harris effortlessly stealing the show, and William Hurt…
Very direct in its approach & unrelenting with its subject matter, A History of Violence concerns Tom Stall, who lives a quiet life with his family & owns a diner in a small town of Indiana. Things are set in motion when one day Tom foils an attempted robbery at his diner, killing the two thugs, & finds unwanted fame n attention from the residents thus becoming the town's local hero overnight. But new men soon arrive in town looking for someone Tom claims to be not. But as the story progresses, we soon find out about Tom's violent past that he had buried years ago.
Loosely based on the 1997 graphic novel of the same name, the film is brilliantly directed by…
Second watch of Noir-Vember. Much like David Cronenberg’s other output ‘Eastern promises’, which I watched and reviewed last week, ‘A History of Violence’ equally displays an ordinary family getting involved with organised crime. This one, however, has more secrets than its first act would acknowledge! Viggo Mortensen shines again in the lead role, but his supporting crew is a bit of a let-down - especially Ashton Holmes as the son and Maria Bello as the wife, both who appear very unnatural and awkward. Nevertheless, ‘A History of Violence’ is an enthralling picture with an original ternary chapter division and shockingly brusque transitions. Moreover, the film does honour to its title as its limited action sequences are flat-out brutal and certainly…
For many years when I was a lot younger I confused David Cronenberg and David Lynch. They both had silly hair and tended to be very serious looking. Cronenberg made interesting, strange films that required your attention and Lynch made movies I have had real trouble fathoming what they were even about. I have seen more Cronenberg than Lynch and it will probably stay that way for some time as Cronenberg's work suits my taste a little more than crazy Dave.
"A History Of Violence" is a film that was developed from a graphic novel of the same name. As you may have guessed this film is littered with some lovely gratuitous violence mostly dished out by the hand of…
It's been over a decade since I last watched A History of Violence, and time has not been kind. Cronenberg's small scale drama feels rote and predictable, with a tired "family man with a sordid past" bent. Paired with some surprisingly poor technical elements (clunky blocking, overuse of close ups, and fake-looking bodily harm for Cronenberg standards), and this film is practically D.O.A.
A bunch of questions plagued me while watching this one: Is Cronenberg the most atheist filmmaker this side of Haneke? Is this ultra-materialistic "cinema of the body" a necessary aftermath to a godless civilization? Is Viggo Mortesen giving the only good performance in this movie? Should David indulge himself a bit more and be less content with settling for close-ups so often? Is the editing anticlimactic because it's so generic? Does the theme of the american dream as built by and hiding a legacy of violence take a massive nosedive during the action-movie climax? Is the first shot pretty awesome anyway?
✓ Yes to all
A History of Violence is a film powered by film noir tropes and a powerhouse performance from Viggo Mortenson, along with Ed Harris and William Hurt. The rest of te acting is so-so. But with Cronenberg it's never the acting you analyze, but brutality.
Fight scenes are beautiful and tensions are high as gore is kept to a realistic, minimal, yet wonderfully unhinging level. The film takes a few pages from This Gun For Hire, The Killers, Out of The Past, and more films about sins that haunt, but it takes it's own numbers. It's cliched to a point that it's almost artful. Mortenson and Cronenberg would later team for more hits like the superior Eastern Promises, but this is an excellent start to their partnership, and a different phase for the Canadian horror master.
Definitely on the lower tier of Cronenberg films. It's scale is really small and the intended emotional scope is supposed to be huge, but it's not until the third act that it really begins to hit and BANG it's over. None of the commentary Cronenberg is making here is particularly bold or innovative - as opposed to something like Cosmopolis, that has an equally small scope but is huge - but it falls in line with his usual body horror canon in a refreshing way. Mortensen is in top shape.
Fuck that shit up Viggo!!!!
It had been a long time since I saw this film and I really liked Viggo Mortensen in Appaloosa which I watched a few days before this. I have always heard the praise for this film so thought I would give it another go.
I did like the dynamic between Viggo and co-star Maria Bello. They have some intense and realistic sex scenes. There relationship is believable and real. But the gangsters on the other hand are so bad. Ed Harris and William Hurt try to pull off Irish Gangsters and fail miserably. I can not believe William Hurt got an Oscar Nomination for his poor performance. I never once bought him as a gangster. Ed Harris was a little…
The film's incredible brevity is incredible considering the transformation from Tom to Joey is so palpable.
What I Learned:
Our psychological lives are a lot more fragile then we think
Ed Harris: ★★★★★
The Bourne Identity
"You're Joey Cusack. From Philly."
As he evolved and began tackling more "respectable" cinema, Cronenberg never left what really fascinated him behind: the politics of identity and what it means to move beyond who we were at certain points in our lives.
In many ways, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE is no different than Cronenberg's "body horror" beginnings, as it deals with a man who lives inside of a manufactured shell, meant to conceal who he was before anybody in this idyllic, Castle Rock-esque community had laid eyes upon Tom Stall, husband, father and local business owner. Yet once that shell is revealed, "Tom" is simply a lump of flesh, eaten away by the cancerous evil that is former Philly hitman,…
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results…