Friday 6 June 2008

A History of Violelnce [2005]

David Cronenberg has attained cult following among “artistic” B-film lovers for his gore-filled slasher movies. But a movie like A History of Violence, inspite of being, comparatively, a mainstream movie with restricted blood and violence, has far more horror and spine-chilling moments embedded in it than all the blood-soaked zombie movies combined. Minimalist in composition and realist in tone, the movie hits like a hand grenade even to people aware of Cronenberg’s ability to create shock-and-awe effect among his viewers. The movie is a near-poetic tale of a seemingly mundane, unassuming, uninteresting, easy-going, working-class family man (played to perfection by Viggo Mortensen), whose carefully wrapped violent past catches up with him, in spectacular fashion, thanks in large parts to a heroic act of generosity. Mario Bello is equally effective as the loving wife suffering from severe moral ambiguities regarding her husband’s dark past. The final scene is especially symbolic – will the close-knit but dangerously fractured family survive opening of the Pandora’s Box or will it go to pieces? The question is subtle and the answer is open to the discerning viewers. This is a very well made movie of high artistic importance; but people fed on a daily diet of mushy romantic comedies will find it difficult to absorb the unflinching and brutal realism portrayed herein.

Director: David Cronenberg
Genre: Drama/Family Drama/Psychological Thriller/Crime Thriller
Language: English
Country: England/Canada


Sadanand Renapurkar said...

I must say, you have had the privilege to witness great cinema. But your review of A History of violence does not stress the soul of the film at hand. You see, violence is not an event or a set of events that lead to criminalization of a person. No. It's a phenomenon, a part of the very evolution of human race. It's deep routed. Cronerberg goes to great depth to depict this, in his own way. The protagonist's (Mortensen) life is a ,it seems, always remain haunted by his violent history, by Joey, his nightmare, his alter-ego of sorts, his ominous link to the history of violence. Rather than it's poetic/artistic portrayal, this odyssey into Joey's mind remains it's single biggest accomplishment. It's like Cronerberg's take on Darwin's Theory of Evolution, in its own right.

Shubhajit said...

Your point is taken. However, my first impression about the movie was that this is a poetry (a lamenting one at that) from the someone you'd least expect from. To speak on the point raised by you, the tale is as if a sad realization that violence can never be completely suppressed, despite man's evolution from a primitive being to a co-called civilized creature. Anyway, thanks for visiting.