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Whew! What A Movie


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Guest Max Fenig

Agree to disagree.

"Covenant" was a phenomenal episode and excellent exercise in subtlety... I found Crash to be the exact inverse.

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Guest Sanitarium

I didn't mind it till I realized it was a vehicle to express ones views on racism. Black, white, yellow who cares? Obviously the director of Crash does.

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Guest SouthernCelt

Haven't seen it, but I found this on the internet...references "Crash" ... (I've seen the TV teasers for this one, it looks interesting with a good cast, at least in main roles.)

Review: 'History of Violence' a Must-See By CHRISTY LEMIRE, AP Movie Critic

The less you know about "A History of Violence" before you see it — and you really should see it — the better. And yet there's so much to say, it's hard not to want to ramble on.

So we'll just say this: The latest twisting thriller from director David Cronenberg probably will appeal to a wider audience than his more daring films like "Naked Lunch" and "Crash," but it's no less penetrating in its insights into human nature.

The story of an Indiana family whose small-town idyll is destroyed by violence offers a searing examination of how far people will go under duress, of the darkness in our personalities that reveals itself during unexpected circumstances.

The performances are uniformly excellent from a beautifully chosen cast: especially Viggo Mortensen as the mild-mannered patriarch (though as his character evolves, he's essentially playing two roles, distinctly and believably); Maria Bello, who plays his wife with powerful understatement; and William Hurt in a brief but scene-stealing cameo as a passively threatening Philadelphia mob boss.

Based on a graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke, the script from John Olson shows us who the bad guys are early — they're the ones whose nonchalant approach to fatally shooting people is chilling. But as the film goes on, violence finds its way into the lives of the good guys, too, making it more difficult to identify the true villains.

Tom Stall (Mortensen) appears to be the purest of heart, living in a quiet farm house with his wife, Edie (Bello), their teenage son, Jack (Ashton Holmes, showing comfort and confidence in his film debut), and their young daughter, Sarah (Heidi Hayes). Tom is the well-known owner of the town's popular diner; Edie works as a lawyer. After 20 years together, they still flirt with each other and enjoy a healthy, playful sex life. And after just a few scenes, Cronenberg has lulled us into the peaceful rhythms of their daily domestic routine.

Everything changes one night when a couple of wanted criminals passing through town try to rob the diner. After a struggle, Tom finds he has shot them both dead in self-defense and winds up being depicted as a hero in the media, a label the modest, middle-aged man wears reluctantly.

The newfound attention draws more dangerous strangers: the facially misshapen gangster who shows up with his thugs at Tom's diner and insists he knows him as a guy named Joey from Philly — a guy with a talent for killing. Ed Harris plays the character, Carl Fogarty, in a gravelly, reserved manner that makes him more terrifying than if he'd approached the part as some sort of swaggering, bombastic stereotype. His damaged left eye and scarred cheek also make him a visual fright; Tom remains polite throughout their confrontation, but clearly is shaken up.

The town's sheriff (Peter MacNeill), a friend of the Stall family, warns Fogarty and his men to stay away. But they keep coming back, and they insist that Tom comes with them.

We should probably stop right here. Because Cronenberg takes us to places that are consistently surprising and suspenseful (with Howard Shore's score adding to the building sense of dread) and saying anything more might ruin it.

But let's go back to Hurt for a moment. He shows up toward the end and has only one scene, one that's unlike any other in the film with its dark sense of humor. Parading around an ostentatious castle of a home, he plays the role with a mix of affection, menace, paranoia and regret, laying on the most charming guilt trip with just a touch of insanity.

His performance alone would make "A History of Violence" worth seeing. It ends up being just one unpredictable element of a film that's full of them, a film that in time reveals that the word "history" in the title is just as important as the word "violence," and just as inescapable.

"A History of Violence," a New Line Cinema release, is rated R for brutal violence, graphic sexuality, nudity, language and some drug use. Running time: 98 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.

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Guest Max Fenig

Uh, he isn't talking about Moresco/Haggis' "Crash". David Cronenberg made a film called Crash with James Spader in the 90's. It's completely unrelated.

Although since you brought it up, A History of Violence is one of my most anticipated films to see this year, right behind Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.

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Guest A Stranger
I didn't mind it till I realized it was a vehicle to express ones views on racism.  Black, white, yellow who cares?  Obviously the director of Crash does.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Becuase it does matter. This movie is suprisingly real in it's potrayal of race, which is very unexpected for a big scale Hollywood film. Pretending the issue of race, and the complexities that it invloves don't exist does a disservice to everyone.

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