Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Ashton Holmes, Heidi Hayes and Peter MacNeill

David Cronenberg

Running Time:
96 mins

Out to buy on DVD 20/03/06

"Ask yourself how is he so good at killing people"

Family man Tom Stall (Mortensen) becomes a local hero when he foils a robbery at his diner, killing both of the assailants. Not wanting any fuss over want he has done, Tom returns to his wife Edie (Bello) and his two children. But when Carl Fogaty (Harris) comes to town a few days later looking for Tom, he asks the question why Tom was quick and efficient when he took out the robbers, making Edie question if Tom is who he says he is.

Every time director David Cronenberg makes a movie, the film world takes notice and with 'A History of Violence' they should do.

Based on a graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke, this latest movie by Cronenberg is a potboiler that simmers away until it boils over. A character based drama, this is a movie that builds up the main players and then twists them around. This is where the film succeeds. By taking a small town, family man and turning him into some who may or may not be a killing machine makes for intriguing premise and one that keeps you engaged throughout.

The ensemble cast is extremely strong and well suited to bring these complex characters to life. Viggo Mortensen continues to show that he is an actor with real promise as he continues to choose interesting roles after his Lord of the Rings adventures. Tom Stall is a complex and extremely interesting character that Mortensen sinks his teeth into. Maria Bello also continues to impress as she takes on other demanding role. This is a powerful performance from an actress who is really starting to make waves in independent films. Ed Harris and William Hurt bring some class to the movie with two very memorable performances of which both of them seem to revel in. There is also a good performance up and coming actor Ashton Holmes as Tom's son Jack.

As with most slow burning, character based dramas this is quite slow moving film that some viewers may find hard going. As you might have gathered from the title, this is also quite a violent movie that at times can be quite disturbing. Cronenberg makes it very realistic and uncompromising, but never glories the violence, as it is a means to an end and integral to the story.

'A History of Violence' might be hard going and quite slow but it is intriguing throughout. With excellent performances from a first class cast, this is a movie that is compulsive viewing for Cronenberg fans and movie aficionados. With hard hitting violence and a story that just doesn't let go, this is Cronenberg back to his best.

Audio commentary from director David Cronenberg
'Acts Of Violence': an 8 part documentary (66 mins)
Scene 44: a deleted scene with optional audio from Cronenberg
'The Unmaking Of Scene 44' featurette (7 mins)
'Violence's History: US version vs International version' featurette
'Too Commercial For Cannes' featurette (8 mins)

Road to Perdition

The Usher Home | Hush, Hush... | The Big Story | The Usher Speaks

Stuck @ Home | Coming Soon | Links | Contact the Usher