DIRECTOR: David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg’s, A History Of Violence is a strange amalgamation of various elements from different genre’s of film. The tone of this 92 minute thriller, is gentle and precise as we follow Viggo Mortenson as a passive man, running a diner in small town America, enjoying a very interesting love life with his wife, Maria Bello and raising his two kids.
But this tranquil life is shattered when the diner is robbed at gunpoint and Viggo violently defends his business and his staff. After this, he becomes a local hero and is subsequently tracked down by Ed Harris who believes him to be someone else, a point that Mortenson vehemently denies.
The plot of this film does not play out as you’d expect. Is this a thriller? Yes, for the most part, but is this the thriller that we think is from the outset? Not really. The tone is naturalistic and the violence is very gruesome, something to be expected from a film-maker who had made his name from body horror films, such as the 1986 remake of The Fly.
The tone is relaxed, never really building the tension but paying the audience off with several great sequences, some brilliant twists and this is all held together with some top class acting from all involved. But if the film doesn’t hold your interest, that must surly change with a career best performance from William Hurt, who hams it up something rotten but helps to craft a brilliant finale.
Overall, holds your interest, is enjoyable in parts, has some genuine twists and turns, and has a surprising palatable tone considering the subject matter.