A History of Violence dir. by

2 October 2005

Genre: ,
Cast: , ,
Rated :

ViggoThis is a strange film. I suppose I should have expected that from the director though shouldn’t I?

We open with two criminal-types, drifting across America, leaving a trail of casual violence behind them. And, if I hadn’t seen the trailers, I might have thought that these two were the main “baddies” of the film. But although their dead-eyed gaze might be enough to stare down the school’s bully, they pick the wrong diner to rob when they head into Stall’s late one night. This is where the story takes off, although the pace is still quite measured.

Tom Stall, married with children, turns into a hero as he deals, quite effectively, with the two gun men. He himself ends up in hospital, but neither of the robbers will have any cause to see a doctor again. Tom, as a hero, gets his face plastered all over the news, and so results in strange mobsters from the East coast turning up.

We never really doubt that Tom has a past, but the film takes its time to get to the truth. And it does so through graphic violence, and sex. I can see why it got its 18’s cert here.

I suppose you could argue that this film raises questions about violence, and change, and well, a lot of things. In a way it is an old western film, where a good man has to take up arms and fight for his life. But then again, is Tom a good man?

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2 Responses

  1. Lorc says:

    I have personal reasons for liking this, I did my ba thesis on Judge Dredd (written in parts by John Wagner, who wrote the graphic novel) and my ma thesis on Cronenberg. But fuck it! I liked this film because it had straightforward blood guts and sex at an 18-cert level. The viseral reaction of characters is perfect, in a 12a you have someone moaning and hitting someone, only for that person to be proved to be 'alright' in the next scene!

  2. Fence says:

    I didn't realise this was a Cronenberg film til I saw the name at the start of the credits.

    I did enjoy this film, as I said, twas quite strange. Mainly because it was on one level so slow and measured, but on another level had all this violence and lashing out.