Thursday, October 27, 2005

eyeCandy: A History of Violence (2005) 4/5

A History of Violence is based on a graphic novel (to the uninitiated, that's a big word for a long comic book ;-) ) by John Wagner and Vince Locke. It is the latest from Canadian director David Cronenberg, who has a history of bizarre movies (sort of a defining element for Canadian films, it would seem :-) ) including the Fly, Dead Ringers, Crash, Spider, and, my favorite of the bunch (although not for the faint hearted), Naked Lunch.

The film stars Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn from LOTR) as Tom Stall, a seemingly average coffee shop owner in small town USA. I don't want to give too much away but, suffice to say, there's more to Tom than meets the eye, which becomes apparent when he handily deals with some out of towners attempting to hold up his restaurant. The subsequent publicity brings the attention of some undesirable characters from Tom's past and threatens to dramatically upset the quiet life he has built for himself.

Despite a couple of violent scenes, this is pretty tame fare for Cronenberg, who does a wonderful job avoiding the excess that so many directors indulge in and, instead, brings us a powerful and concise movie. The story leaves the audience considering how we can become trapped by our past despite our best efforts to distance ourselves from it, and what obligations we might have to share this past with those in our "new" life.

Aside from a strangely abrubt (although not necessarily poor) ending, I think this movie is relatively flawless. It is entertaining and thought provoking and avoids, to good effect, the general cliches we've become so accustomed to from Hollywood. I think it's quite telling how the medium of comics, ridiculed by most for the longest time (and still to some degree), has brought us content that, in recent years, has been readily embraced by the public at large. Whether it be the classic superhero story (X-Men, Spiderman) or deeper, darker fare (From Hell and this movie), I find it very pleasing that the medium that I spent so much time with for many years has finally gotten some well-deserved recognition for its creativity and inventiveness. Now, please, someone do a good movie rendition of Neil Gaiman's Sandman for me. :-)
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10/27/2005 07:39:00 p.m.  


Anonymous Amber Mac said...

And you say I have adult A-D-D! I've never seen so many excellent blog posts ;).

Your sis,

October 27, 2005 9:59 p.m.  
Blogger B. McKechnie said...

Man, I have got to see this film! I too love Naked Lunch (the book and the movie) and feel Cronenberg is sometimes not given the credit he deserves in Canada.

This film opened when I was in California and it was playing everywhere (I have pictures of all the marquees to prove it). Most people here have no clue about it though!

In other news - a special edition DVD of The Fly was just released :)

And Amber - you do have adult A.D.D and last Thursday proves it :P

October 27, 2005 10:43 p.m.  
Anonymous Amber Mac said...

Brian - last Thursday was a gong-show! I apologize - I'm sorry you had to see that ;)!

October 28, 2005 12:55 p.m.  

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