A History of Violence (2005)

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Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ashton Holmes, Ed Harris, Peter MacNeill


In a small midwestern town local diner proprietor and pillar of the community guns down two badmen in defence of his customers and staff, the side-effect of which is that he comes to the notice of the media and in turn to that of men from out east who claim to know him and demand atonement.

The Review

What looks at first as though it is going to be one of those western stories in which a brave act brings down unwelcome attention from gunslingers from miles around, in fact turns into a western staple of a very different kind, that of the past catching up. The writing resembles both Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch in its casual violence and hyperreal everyday exchanges respectively, but the scientist's gaze on the mechanics and grim aftermath of corporeal destruction is pure Cronenberg. Based on a graphic novel it transcends its origins to achieve pathos and humour besides the mythic resonance of a very American history.