Friday, September 30, 2005

A History of Violence - Movie Review

A History of Violence 2005
It has taken us many years, but we are now prepared to admit something to you. We LOVE David Cronenberg! There we said it. Happy? Well we are. Our first Cronenberg experience was “Scanners” back when we were a mere fetus. Other highlights in his long career include the remake of “The Fly” – that helped unleash Geena Davis on an unsuspecting world, “Naked Lunch” – wherein we lost ours, “Dead Ringers” – FABULOUS performances by Jeremy Irons and Genevieve Bujold, “Crash” (No, no this year’s racist tract - the kinky one years ago – you know, with people who get turned on fucking during, after and thru car wrecks . . . well, whatever blows your skirt up we suppose) “The Dead Zone” and “Videodrome” among others. And while we cannot ignore the basic truism that Mr. Cronenberg must have some serious ish with sex, blood, gore and kink. You know what? He makes it work. Not all the time. But it works. It works. We have to say that we think David and fellow gore lover, Brian de Palma are the two most underappreciated talented directors out there. Their grazing ground may be the slick and stylish thriller, but they are the real deal. (Yes, we’re looking at your bloated carcass, Quentin T., and we’re still not liking what we see.) Case in point. Maestro Cronenberg’s latest oeuvre. “A History of Violence.”
This wonderfully compact and blessedly kooky look at the dark nature within some men’s souls plays out like Frank Capra directing an episode of “The Sopranos”, and Good Lord, does it work! Fabu! And yes, it is indeed violent. Honestly, we have never been a big fan of gratuitous violence, but with a title like this you gotta expect some messy drippy scenes. (Big nudge to the stupid twat who sat behind us at our theatre, and was so repulsed each time there was a gruesome close-up. What the fuck did you expect, bitch – “Bridget Jones III: Bridget Buys a Girdle?”) But, we digress. First and foremost, we want to mention the number one reason to go see this movie. VIGGO MORTENSEN!!! Sweet Baby Jesus dripped in Honey! The second reason to go see this movie. VIGGO MORTENSEN ASS SHOT!!! All too brief, we might add. The third reason to see this movie. WILLIAM HURT!!! No, we haven’t taken LSD and had a flashback to 1986 - we mean it. Okay, for those too young to know - back in the day Bill Hurt was the ever so dreamy intellectual hunk who steamed up our glasses in “Body Heat”, cracked us up in “Broadcast News”, made drug dealing look enticing in “The Big Chill”, and then went all “you go, girl” drag queenie on us in “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and snagged a well deserved Best Actor Oscar in the process. (We still stand strong in protesting that his fabulous co-star; the incredibly talented and dearly departed Raul Julia was robbed of an Oscar nomination! We’re still not over it.) But, forget all you think you know of this notoriously nutty and talented actor. Here, he has a brief, but incredibly important scene in which he not only steals the movie, but manages to squeeze out practically every emotion known to mankind in a powerhouse cameo that sure as shit better have him up for all the Best Supporting Actor prizes later this year! You listening, Academy? You bitches better be.

And Viggo. Oh, Viggo. You had us at “Witness” when you first flashed those baby blues and cheekbones you could slice deli meats with. We only started to take you seriously tho, during your three years of chasing dwarves in New Zealand, wherein we were shocked that you not only grounded a seventy five hour fantasy epic, you actually brought human dimension to a Tolkien adaptation! Of course, it helped to have that talented former fatty Peter Jackson at the helm, and now you are blessed with that nutjob David Cronenberg. Maybe, all you needed was a little good direction? Hmmmm. Maybe there is hope for Paul Walker after all? We’ll wait and see.
Rounding out the cast, are Maria Bello (who keeps growing on us like Kudzu, bless her) as Viggo’s loving but increasingly suspicious wife. Newcomer Ashton Holmes as there apparently wimpy, but resourceful teenage son. Some Dakota Fanning wannabe as their tiny tot of a daughter, and that old curmudgeon Ed Harris as one creepy newcomer to the small rural township that Viggo and familia call home.

We are not going to reveal the plot for this flick, suffice to say . . . read the fucking title of the movie, will ya? How fucking lazy can you be? Just go see it! One of the best of the year, hands down. David. We are faithful viewers from now on. We always knew you had it in you. Just please stop demonstrating it, with your wife.
Note: This flick, like many other recent wonderful films, is based on what the industry likes to call, a “graphic novel.” Read: COMIC BOOK!! To all the Fanboys out there, grow the fuck up. It’s okay to call it a COMIC BOOK. Labeling it a “graphic novel” ain’t gonna help get you laid, or out of your parents basement. For other wonderful COMIC BOOKS based flicks, go rent “American Splendor”, “Ghost World”, “Road to Perdition”, and “Titanic”. Okay, we’re kidding about the last one – but that horrid script might as well have been written as a flip book found in a Grabber Arcade Machine.

Bless you all!

Viggo Mortensen as Tom Stall
Maria Bello as Edie Stall
Ashton Holmes as Jack Stall
Peter MacNeill as Sheriff Sam Carney
Ed Harris as Carl Fogarty
William Hurt as Richie Cusack

Directed by David Cronenberg
Written by Josh Olson
Based on the graphic novel by John Wagner & Vince Locke
Film Editing by Ronald Sanders
Cinematography by Peter Suschitzky
Costume Design by Denise Cronenberg
Production Design by Carol Spier
Art Direction by James McAteer
Set Decoration by Peter P. Nicolakakos
Original Music by Howard Shore