A History of Violence (18+, 96 minutes)

Back in 2005, Canadian director David Cronenberg was still best known for his visceral and gore-filled horrors of flesh.

Cronenberg’s most successful contact with the mainstream came with the highly influential 1986 remake of The Fly. “Naked Ranch,” “eXistenZ,” “Crash” and “Dead Ringers” were all festival hits, but Cronenberg’s résumé suggests he’s trying to reinvent it. There wasn’t much content. The best American crime drama of all time.

A History of Violence took the box office by storm in 2005. On the surface, the film is simple, but it’s actually a straightforward story about a small-town diner owner who is an ex-gangster and lives in secret. When Tom becomes a local hero for violently thwarting an attempted robbery, a television report alerts his old employer that Tom is still alive and where he and his family can be found. be.

What follows is brutal, but beautifully done. Cronenberg and star Viggo Mortensen aren’t interested in simply making a violent thriller. A History of Violence is a human and believable film that happens to face potential murderers.

Maria Bello as his wife Edie, the ruthless Ed Harris as Tom’s nemesis, and his co-star as the antagonistic William Hurt all fall short of praise.

Viggo Mortensen plays small town diner owner Tom Stoll in A History of Violence.


Viggo Mortensen plays small town diner owner Tom Stoll in A History of Violence.

A History of Violence is one of the key films of the first decade of the 21st century. The film proved that, like Scorsese and others did in the 1970s, large, violent movies with high body counts can still be credible adult dramas.

Cronenberg and Mortensen worked together again in 2007 on “Eastern Promises,” perhaps with even better results.

A History of Violence will begin streaming on Netflix on the evening of June 7th.

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