The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

A History Of Violence

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Judy Thorburn

"A History Of Violence" - Will Blow You Away With Its Powerful Execution

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"A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE” – WILL BLOW YOU AWAY WITH ITS POWERFUL EXECUTION

Director David Cronenberg deserves raves for his work on A History of Violence.  As one of Hollywood’s kings of the horror Sci-Fi genre his resume includes such dark films such as The Fly (1986), Dead Ringers (1988), and Naked Lunch (1991), which share common elements. All those movies make some statement about humanity, show various forms of mutation, some blood and gore and send viewers on a mind trip: factors audiences expect from this director.  Being out there has always been his trademark.  But, with “A History of Violence”, Cronenberg, in a change of pace, goes more mainstream and really proves what a powerful and important director he is by making deep, compelling statements about violence that surrounds us everywhere and how we choose to confront it.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, A Historyof Violence, Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Ashton Holmes, Heidi Hayes, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk, Peter McNeill, David Cronenberg, Josh Olson

Although this film delivers moments that are very graphic in detail, not one scene is gratuitous. Every camera shot depicting the gruesome result of a violent act is vital to the storyline. Those scenes are the more harder hitting by emphasizing the real, shocking, in your face horror of the situation.  It does exactly what is intended; making an impact that jolts the audience like a punch in the guts.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, A Historyof Violence, Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Ashton Holmes, Heidi Hayes, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk, Peter McNeill, David Cronenberg, Josh Olson

Viggo Mortenson, in his best work yet, shows what diverse range he has as an actor, playing Tom Stall, resident of a Middle America small town, Millbrook Indiana where everyone watches out for each other, and it is soon to be put to the test.  Tom is a mild mannered family man, loving husband to attorney wife Edie (a marvelous, Maria Bello), and father to young daughter Sarah (Heidi Hayes) and teenage son Jack (impressive, Ashton Holmes). But, his life is turned upside down when he is hailed as a local hero after being forced to commit a self-defense killing of two ruthless thugs who threatened the lives of himself and people in his diner.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, A Historyof Violence, Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Ashton Holmes, Heidi Hayes, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk, Peter McNeill,David Cronenberg, Josh Olson

When Tom’s story is seen on national TV, it grabs the attention of East Coast mobster, black suited, scar faced, Carl Fogarty (the always grand Ed Harris) who is convinced he knows Tom as someone else named Joey.  This sends Fogarty to the diner with two henchmen in tow where he proceeds to confront Tom with accusations that Tom vehemently denies. Although desperately trying to return to a normal life, Tom finds that he is again pushed to the limits and must confront forces that threaten his family and his very existence.  Meanwhile, a relevant subplot has Tom’s non-violent son, Jack having to deal with continual taunting by a bully at school, where he finally takes a stand.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, A Historyof Violence, Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Ashton Holmes, Heidi Hayes, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk, Peter McNeill, David Cronenberg, Josh Olson

It really pisses me off that the TV commercials promoting this film disclosed so much.  I initially viewed the movie at a press only preview screening prior to the ad campaign and was drawn into the evolving storyline, thankfully, without any foreknowledge. So I refuse to ruin it for others by giving any more information away.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, A Historyof Violence, Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Ashton Holmes, Heidi Hayes, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk, Peter McNeill, David Cronenberg, Josh Olson

What I will say is that A History of Violence, loosely based on graphic novels by John Wagner and Vince Locke, is a one of the best films of the year in every aspect, from its explosive, haunting story, fabulous acting, directing, and perfect, not one second off, pacing.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, A Historyof Violence, Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Ashton Holmes, Heidi Hayes, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk, Peter McNeill, David Cronenberg, Josh Olson

A History of Violence examines violence in America on so many levels that includes the correlation between sex and violence (which comes into play in a controversial staircase scene with Tom and Edie).  Also brought up are questions about identity, who we really are, what we are capable of, and coming to terms with the truth.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, A Historyof Violence, Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Ashton Holmes, Heidi Hayes, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk, Peter McNeill, David Cronenberg, Josh Olson

As a psychological thriller it also hits the mark.  There are certainly Oscar worthy performances, especially by Bello and a brief, outstanding, vital role by William Hurt that I won’t divulge.  The film’s only flaw is the absolutely awful performance by the child who plays Tom’s daughter. She must be related to someone very important. What other excuse can there be?

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, A Historyof Violence, Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Ashton Holmes, Heidi Hayes, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk, Peter McNeill, David Cronenberg, Josh Olson

A History of Violence is both chilling and extremely effective in the manner in which issues are addressed.  If it triggers some gut feelings in the pit of your stomach, take this as a history lesson you won’t soon forget.