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Monday, November 07, 2005

A History Of Violence

We saw A History Of Violence on Saturday. It's a hard movie to wrap much of anything around. If someone came up to me and said, "I'm going to see a movie this weekend, what would you recommend?" ... it's not what would jump to mind. It's not a particularly fun movie, nor is it overly poignant or emotional. It's an extremely tense and at times incredible violent movie.

Truth is, on it's own, Cronenberg's latest would probably have more than a few people scratching their heads. Fans of some of his earlier work will wonder where the allusions to insects or surrealism went. People expecting a wham bam action flick will be outright bewildered.

That, I think, is Cronenberg's aim. Actually I had heard a great NPR feature on the movie a week or so before it's release about this angle. Cronenberg didn't want a comfortable movie, he wanted something that would be a dark reflection of American action films. In a normal action movie, the protaganist would be glorified and praised for his violent acts ... but in A History Of Violence, it's a central point for fear and loathing.

Compare this movie to A Long Kiss Goodnight, where Geena Davis plays a soccer mom who has forgotten her assassin ways. There the possibility of a mommy being a killer is seen as kinda cool, but Cronenberg puts a grim focus on death and the people capable of dealing it out.

So I don't necessarily recommend the movie ... except that I think everyone should watch it. You might not have the best time, but it may give a unique perspective on how violent media works.

It would be fascinating to see someone pull of a video game in this same vein. Despite it's attempt to be an indictment of violence, I'm positive our currently climate would be too nearsighted to grasp that and only focus on the presentation of gore itself.

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