A History of ViolenceFeature Film | David Cronenberg By Adrienne McIlvaine
A deceptively quiet and tense film about love, violence, and redemption.
Loosely based on the 1997 graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke, David Cronenberg's masterful thriller A History of Violence simmers with physical tension and philosophical uncertainty. The film, set in a bucolic small town straight out of a David Lynch movie, turns on a seemingly heroic act of violence--the deaths of two would-be robbers at the hands of quick-thinking diner employee Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen). But when a steely gangster (Ed Harris) shows up, claiming nice-guy Tom is actually a ruthless mobster known as Joey Cusack, his idyllic marriage and life begin to crumble. Cronenberg slyly questions why society condones some acts of violence over others by juxtaposing Tom's self-defensive shooting with the history of the mysterious Cusack and the increasingly aggressive retaliation Tom's son (Ashton Holmes) takes against a local bully. Mortensen's subdued performance is a complex mix of pained restraint and explosive physicality, and it wouldn't be a Cronenberg film if there wasn't a subplot that dives into the lurid relationship between sex, violence, and control. As Tom comes closer to making peace with his past and present, it becomes clear that they're two sides of the same coin, and that to separate them is naive at best and tragic at worst.
|A History of Violence Trailer|