Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A History of Violence

Escaping your past is the method to use when you have more than a few skeletons in the closet. Usually it's related with an affair or something that occurred during childhood, but sometimes it's something more taunting.

This is the case with Tom Stall, played wonderfully by Viggo Mortensen. Before having an idyllic life, he was Joey Cusack, a hitman for an Irish mobster. His family is shocked by the realization, even after he vehemently denies such claims. But soon, he goes back to his violent past.

Mortensen's transformation from mild-mannered Tom to brutish Joey is both an eye-opener and evident during his two sex scenes with Maria Bello's Edie. The first encounter is somewhat of an awkward role-playing experience, lacking that certain spark. The second encounter takes the phrase "banging" to a new level.

Having also seen Eastern Promises, it's clear that Mortensen and David Cronenberg are excellent collaborators. I look forward to their next movie together. A History of Violence is very well done, but there's something missing to it. I can't place what it is though.

My Rating: ****1/2


  1. What's missing, I think, is any fore-shadowing to Tom's past (other than his aggressiveness with his wife) to indicate that that past had occurred, so the transition to Joey (which shouldn't be a transition, really) throws one for a loop. Also...if William Hurt has such a bizzarre accent...shouldn't Mortenson have a tinge of it? Loved Ed Harris in this, too.

  2. I love how William Hurt got an Oscar nom for this film when he was on screen for literally 12 minutes? Great movie. Viggo should've gotten more recognition for it. Thankfully he did for Eastern Promises.

  3. ahhh yes cronenberg and mortensen are to die for. mortensen was a force to be reckoned with in this movie. i loved every minute of it.

  4. Agree with you all. Cronenberg and Mortensen, if they continue like this for me they'll start to rival De Niro and Scorsese. I know that's a lot to say, especially not having seen A Dangerous Method.. but I'll say it anyway!


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