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A History of Violence September 8, 2006

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.

The critics raved about this movie (based on a graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke) but when I read the story outline I felt it was very similar to many movies, especially those in the Seema genre in Telugu cinema. However, the excellent reviews made me watch this movie to see what was so good and different. This movie was very good in terms of quality but there isn’t much about the story that was unlike the other movies. The plot isn’t the strong point of this movie as some critics had me believe. If you really haven’t seen a movie that has some of these elements of intrigue and mystery about a person who may have a hidden past, then you may find the story appealing. The good thing about the story though is that it creates multidimensional characters that are very believable. The relationship of the husband and wife and the parallels between the son and the father are very interesting. The question that kept popping up in my mind was “What if someone who is very close to you has a hidden past?”. This movie makes you think and questions of this kind are what make the plot seem interesting.

Though the plot isn’t particularly fresh or appealing, what this movie has is a master at work. David Cronenberg’s mastery is visible in many scenes. The opening sequence of the movie and the two sex scenes between the lead actors are unforgettable. Cronenberg (who also made films like Dead Ringers and The Fly) does an interesting take on what is ultimately a pointless story. He takes an average plot and creates a movie that is a couple of notches higher. The violence in this movie is different from what we are used to seeing in most movies. The three primary actors Viggo Mortenson, Maria Bello and Ed Harris deliver commendable performances. This is a slow moving thriller/drama that appeals to a niche audience. This movie is not for those who want an interesting story or fast-paced entertainment. Those who are particularly interested in filmmaking and want to catch Cronenberg at work might want to watch this.


1. Shujath - December 14, 2006

I was not greatly impressed with this given all the hype. The only thing which I liked is the realism and also the way Cronenberg depicts the change in family dynamics (especially the ones involving Mortenson and his son) after Mortenson’s seedy past comes to the fore. Nevertheless, a good watch if you dont’ have too high expectations.

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