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MOVIE REVIEW (Comedy)
History of Violence, A
Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris

The Official Site
DVD at Amazon.com

Released: 9/1/2005


Directed by David Cronenberg and based on a graphic novel (i.e. comic book for adults) by John Wagner and Vince Locke, this movie adaptation takes the word "graphic" quite literally: graphic violence, graphic sex, graphic nudity... all the things the comic-reading adolescent male could want.

Mortensen plays small-town diner owner Tom Stall, who is living the american dream with a house, two kids and a happy marriage. He is thrust into the national spotlight after saving the day at his diner when two itinerant merciless criminals stop by to kill the customers and staff and steal what little cash is available. Once the spotlight hits, organized crime figures mistake Small for one Joey Cusack from Philadelphia, someone they have a grudge against. Despite Small's insistence that they have the wrong man and that he has never been to Philadelphia, all hell breaks loose. From there the story meanders around with occasional anectdotes to fill in some of the blanks but no real goal or direction. One redeeming quality is that the film can be visually striking, with interesting close-ups and shots in the rural setting of Small's town.

Unfortunately beyond the gratuitous trappings of sex and violence, there is hardly a story to tell and what is told moves along at a snail's pace, ultimately leaving the viewer hungry for more... more character, more story, more substance.

Possibly worth a rental on DVD if desperate, but not a particularly rewarding movie-going experience.

Steve Donnelly Email WWW

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