A History of Violence

A small town diner owner stops a robbery, which draws the attention of a scary Ed Harris saying he isn’t the man he claims to be.

The overall feeling while watching this movie was stillness. It is a small town with Tom (Viggo Mortensen) running a diner while trying to spice things up in his marriage to Maria Bello and be a good role model for their two children. That silence is shattered when two would-be robbers end up getting taken down by Tom with much skill.

He doesn’t like the attention it draws from the local media (or nearby city media since the town is small). He is not thrilled when Ed Harris and some other scary guys show up calling him Joey, even though he keeps telling them they have him confused with someone else. He also has a hard time trying to tell his teenage son that violence isn’t the answer when a bully is bugging him at school. Up until that point, his son has used his wit to get others to laugh at him and get the bully away, but after his dad’s act of violence, he ends up hurting the bully pretty badly.

Viggo Mortensen did a good job making me believe he was someone who was just a small-town, simple guy and then in another second, he could kill someone if he needed. Maria Bello was also impressive. Later on, William Hurt appears at a mob boss-type. He is only in the movie for a brief period of time, but he is great. I haven’t ever been a big fan of his, but I really enjoyed this character. I just kept laughing at how things just kept going seriously wrong for him.

For a David Cronenberg movie, there wasn’t a bunch of random squirting grossness like in Naked Lunch, The Fly, Spider and many of his other movies. There was quite a few scenes of really graphic violence, like in a Quentin Tarantino movie. I enjoyed those scenes. I was very impressed with one guy getting killed by having a boot stomped on his neck. It made me say, “Ooof!” after watching that. It was an interesting dichotomy of the still and quiet with the extreme violence.

Rating: A-

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