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A History of Violence (2005)
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Review Date: September 26, 2005
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: Josh Olson
Producers: David Cronenberg, Chris Bender, J.C. Spink
Actors:
Viggo Mortensen as Tom
Maria Bello as Edie
Ed Harris as Fogarty
Plot:
A small town man and his family’s life is rocked when the man becomes an overnight hero, after a couple of thugs enter his restaurant and demand all of its cash. A few days later, some greater thugs from the Philadelphia underground show up, believing that our hero-man is actually someone they knew from the past. He denies it…they don’t believe him. A game of cat, mouse and violence ensues.
Critique:
As seen at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival


Wanna see Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello ‘69 on the big screen? Then check out this movie! Now that I got that out of the way, allow me to get into further detail about why you may, or may not, want to see the latest David Cronenberg flick. Overall, I really liked this movie, but at the same time, I wasn’t left feeling entirely fulfilled or as emotionally attached as I would have liked when I walked out of my screening. For example, the film’s final scene felt like it was supposed to tug at the heartstrings, but it just didn’t happen for me. It was entertaining enough while I was there, but not necessarily memorable. That said, I really liked the fact that I didn’t know much about this movie going in, so almost every twist along the way was a big surprise. I really enjoyed all of the actors in this film as well, with lead Mortensen coming through, but not in his usual charismatic and “awesome hair” way. In this picture, his character is a lot more subdued, a man with a nice family in a small town, but Viggo came through nonetheless. The two actors who really seemed to have all of the fun in their respective extended small parts though, were Ed Harris and William Hurt, the former of whom comes into the story and shakes things up all around, and the latter of whom shows up for an extended cameo really, but bites right into the part—which is a big change from his usual roles.

The film’s pacing also pulled me in with its first 10-15 minutes really not presenting much in terms of meat, but providing just the right amount of oncoming doom with a great score and an underlying feeling of uncomfort all the way through. When things do get going in the film though, it’s marked with specific scenes of violence (3 big ones overall), each of which is autographed by Cronenberg’s love of gore and blood. A couple of after-effect shots are definite keepers, but not for the faint-hearted. I guess the only real problem that I had with this film was that it just didn’t have enough depth. Ultimately, it’s a small story about a man and his ambiguous background which doesn’t entirely fulfill or connect, but does offer a few surprises, solid acting, good directing, a memorable score and a few very cool violent sequences. The one thing that stuck with me after this film was its deviation from the norm, which is why I am trying to say as little about its plot as possible. Not a major motion picture that will blow everyone away, but a good movie that should entertain most looking for a couple of twists and turns, in an otherwise, small town family circle type of situation.
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian
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10:56PM on 04/27/2006

good for 2 reasons

it's great for it's extreme moments where the intensity really counts. The action is suprising (in it's brutality) in addition. A history of violence is great for that, all else is pretty average, the movie could of gone ALOT further.
it's great for it's extreme moments where the intensity really counts. The action is suprising (in it's brutality) in addition. A history of violence is great for that, all else is pretty average, the movie could of gone ALOT further.
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8:13AM on 12/08/2005
Cronenberg's most commercial movie and -thank goodness - his best. Terrific perfomances, inspiring music and of course Cronenberg's sick ethos.
Cronenberg's most commercial movie and -thank goodness - his best. Terrific perfomances, inspiring music and of course Cronenberg's sick ethos.
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8:22PM on 10/22/2005

tension + suspense = tenspense (or sussion)

A really solid film. Starts with a wonderful long-take tension building opening shot. Throughout, the audience is treated with intelligence and kept on edge. Really solid acting throughout. You get the sense that Maria Bello likes doing nude scenes, regardless of whether the script or director asks for them. No complaints about that. I did think the school bully was a little simplistic and pure evil. I also wish William Hurt personally entered Viggo's world as opposed to vice versa.
A really solid film. Starts with a wonderful long-take tension building opening shot. Throughout, the audience is treated with intelligence and kept on edge. Really solid acting throughout. You get the sense that Maria Bello likes doing nude scenes, regardless of whether the script or director asks for them. No complaints about that. I did think the school bully was a little simplistic and pure evil. I also wish William Hurt personally entered Viggo's world as opposed to vice versa. But all in all, a smart and compelling film.
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2:43AM on 10/16/2005
I'm with you on this one Joblo. Not a bad film but nothing as spectacular as many are saying, and I was just left wanting more. I felt like it was just barely touching on being a "meditation on violence" as some have called it, and ultimately I thought it did nothing but glorify violence. Still great acting and strong direction.
I'm with you on this one Joblo. Not a bad film but nothing as spectacular as many are saying, and I was just left wanting more. I felt like it was just barely touching on being a "meditation on violence" as some have called it, and ultimately I thought it did nothing but glorify violence. Still great acting and strong direction.
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10:58AM on 10/04/2005

Great movie

If it weren't for the fact that the movie stays in chronological order, I probably would've thought that Tarantino directed this flick. I'm basically talking about the level of violence - it doesn't hold anything back. Lotta blood, lot of gore, lot of . . . visuals - I should say. It's quite shocking to see all of this in because it seems so out of place in the movie - which takes place in a small rural town. I wouldn't watch this movie if you're of the faint of heart or pregnant or
If it weren't for the fact that the movie stays in chronological order, I probably would've thought that Tarantino directed this flick. I'm basically talking about the level of violence - it doesn't hold anything back. Lotta blood, lot of gore, lot of . . . visuals - I should say. It's quite shocking to see all of this in because it seems so out of place in the movie - which takes place in a small rural town. I wouldn't watch this movie if you're of the faint of heart or pregnant or anything like that.

But it's not just violence that makes this movie good. It does have a pretty good story and the characters in it are very interesting to watch. Whether it's Viggo kicking ass, Maria Bello trying to deal with what's happening, Ed Harris rocking as a mysterious one-eyed gangster, or William Hurt suprising the hell out of me by turning in the most memorable performance of the movie (and probably the best line).

The movie does deal a lot with character, and that made it a better flick as well. This guy is just living his life when all of a sudden he kills a couple of bad guys, becomes a hero, then these gangsters show up saying he's somebody else. That is called conflict - and it makes a movie good :). The movie keeps you interested throughout with the drama that's going on, the shocking violence, the unexpected amount of sex, and the performances brought in by the actors. I also liked the little "ritual" at the end of the movie.
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2:55PM on 10/02/2005

kick ass movie

I really enjoyed going to see this movie, David Cronenberg is an awesome director who doesn't deviate from the task at hand (especially when it comes to violence). The cast also put forth a stellar effort and deserves alot of credit for carrying the movie. Big ups to vego. This a great movie but as joblo said not for the faint of heart.
I really enjoyed going to see this movie, David Cronenberg is an awesome director who doesn't deviate from the task at hand (especially when it comes to violence). The cast also put forth a stellar effort and deserves alot of credit for carrying the movie. Big ups to vego. This a great movie but as joblo said not for the faint of heart.
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