A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
Directed by David Cronenberg
Written by John Olson
Cinematography by Peter Suschitzky
Music by Howard Shore
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt & Ed Harris
2005/96 min/Color/5.1 Dolby Digital
1.85:1 anamorphic/English/US/NTSC Region 1
Review from New Line DVD
Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is a happy family man. He has a gorgeous, loving wife (the stunning Maria Bello) and two great kids. But one day the café that he owns is held up by two scumbags. He kills both of them to protect the café’s workers and it’s patrons. His act of heroism catches the eyes of the media and is quickly turned into a small town hero. But soon after, a man, by the name of Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris) comes in with two other thugs. They work for a man named Richie Cusack (William Hurt), and they start to call Tom, Joey Cusack. Tom denies being this Joey character. Now he must defend his family. But is this a case of mistaken identity or a case of a man trying to escape his dark, violent past?
Cronenberg’s fascinating, intelligent thriller is the director’s best work since the seminal THE FLY (my favorite Cronenberg film). It is an intelligent, thrilling, deep and absorbing film that is based on a graphic novel of the same name. The movie is even more fascinating in repeated viewings. The acting by Mortensen is, perhaps, the best of his career, thus far. The supporting cast is magnificent, too, with Bello, Harris, and Hurt all giving incredible performances.
The film also pulls no punches when it comes to violence, with blood spattering squibs, ultra-bloody beatdowns, and headshot violence just hitting the viewer. Equally, the film delivers some of last year’s sexiest moments, all revolving around the lovely Ms. Bello. From her steamy sex scene dressed as a cute cheerleader, to her wild romp on the stairs, to her full frontal nudity, she exudes sexuality.
A HISTORY OF VOLENCE is presented on DVD by New Line home video, who have given one of last year’s best films, one of this early year’s best DVD releases. Presented in enhanced 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen the movie looks gorgeous with vibrant, rich colors. The Dolby Digital Surround Sound is very evocative of Howard Shore’s score, who as always delivers a powerful one that really helps to fuel the emotion of the film.
This is one DVD that manages to pack a lot of good, quality extras into a single disc. First off, there is multi-chapter documentary called “Acts of Violence” which is never boring and always entertaining and informative as it goes into specific detail about various parts of the film like the beatdown of the bully, the bloody stand-off, and the aforementioned hot sex scenes. It also includes three featurettes. “Violence’s History: United States Versions vs. International Version”, that shows that two scenes had to be trimmed of blood, in the US cut. But in the end the scenes run the exact time, making there no sense in releasing an unrated cut in the US. “Too Commercial for Cannes” is pretty decent and deals with the film and its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. “The Unmaking of Scene 44” tells how they made a deleted scene. They show the gore FX and such. Said deleted scene is also included and is pretty cool. It is a dream sequence, but while it is certainly very Cronenbergain (something he mentions on the optional commentary for it); it really does not fit the rest of the film.
Also, there is an excellent commentary by the man, himself, David Cronenberg. It is very relaxed, but it is certainly never boring. In fact, it is very informative and in depth. He goes into many of the deep aspects of the film, praises his casts excellent work. And even reveals some interesting tidbits like the fact that the movie, at least someone told him this, is the first mainstream American movie to feature the 69 position, and that the bar used is the same exact same one he used in THE FLY.
Finally the film comes with its own trailer as well ones for: TAKE THE LEAD, 11:14, HAVOC, DOMINO, and PUERTO VALLANTA SQUEEZE. The disc is broken up into 18 chapters and comes in a keep case, with an inlet card that lists none of the chapters, but instead serves as an ad for other New Line DVD releases.
This Film Features:
Review by Giovanni "Headbanger69" Deldio. All Right Reserved. 2006. ©
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