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A History of Violence
DVD disk
04.05.2006 By: Sturdy
A History of Violence order
Director:
David Cronenberg

Actors:
Viggo Mortensen
Maria Bello
William Hurt

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A manís history catches up with him after he saves his diner and several people from a couple of ruthless killers. Now he must go back and face the past that he has tried so hard to forget.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Thereís something special about how this film took a simple plot and made it into such a captivating story. I felt Iíve seen similar ideas before with bigger name action heroes, but itís rare that violence/action is done so well and in support of a plot rather than in spite of it. Such is the case with A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE. I wouldnít say itís a masterpiece, but itís a fascinating tale with characters that you truly care about.

The violence is done very well and thatís something that many people will talk about, but what also surprised me was the appropriate use of sex. Cronenberg is no stranger to sex and violence, but I would argue that he has never managed to merge the two so appropriately. There were two sex scenes in the film. The first was in the beginning and showed the main character in a simple, gentle manner that is parallel to his new life. The second was toward the end, and showed him in a violent manner, mirroring his old, violent life. Rarely has sex been able to advance a story so well and so tastefully.

I was also very pleased with the supporting cast. Great job all around to a stellar cast. Itís a testament to Cronenbergís maturity as a filmmaker that he kept the focus on the main character and used the supporting cast to further the main story and not distract from it.

If I have a problem with the movie, itís that it was a little too simple. The conflict is presented and then resolved rather quickly and I got the feeling it was all a little too easy. Also, the story didnít offer anything out of the ordinary, it just told it in a more professional manner.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary with David Cronenberg: This is a great filmmaker commentary. David loves the film and offers some great insight into the film. Itís scene-specific, and he doesnít waste anytime following the movie and discussing virtually every scene. Itís a great listen from a really intelligent guy.

Acts of Violence documentary (66:13): This is an extensive documentary broken up into eight chapters. Itís incredibly in-depth with views from Cronenberg and all the actors. It was maybe a little too in-depth and it probably will bore the casual fan. I also felt there was way too much focus on the violence in the film and although that was a good part, there was more to it than just violence. Also, Maria Bello seems like an annoying person to me and a little difficult to work with.

Violenceís History (1:23): I know this short feature was only included because some completist out there would bitch about not having the international version on DVD. This explains why they didnít release it and Iím glad they didnít waste their time.

Too Commercial for Cannes (8:53): This was a cool feature with Mr. Cronenberg traveling around Cannes for the screening of his movie. Very interesting and very cool.

Deleted scene 44 with optional commentary (2:46): I did not like this scene and Iím very glad it was cut. It wouldnít have ďruinedĒ the movie, but it wouldíve been a black spot on a really good film.

The Unmaking of Scene 44 (7:05): This is a nice little behind the scenes look at the filming of the deleted scene intermixed with interviews from Cronenberg discussing why he cut the scene. I agree with everything he said, and again, Iím glad he cut it.

There are also some Trailers.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Violence is a great film that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Itís not something you havenít seen before, but I doubt youíve seen it done this well. The special features make this one an attractive addition to any collection.
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