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Another Glowing Review Of A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE!! Has Cronenberg Made A Crowd-Pleasing Hit'!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

God, I hope so. I want Cronenberg to be relevant again. I love his work, and it’s hard to watch such a tremendous filmmaker stay marginalized. The source material here is a great opportunity for Cronenberg to make a film that can play to any audience. Did he knock it out of the park? Well...

I saw the new Cronenberg movie last night at a test screening in Pasadena. It’s really going to confound some of his die hard fans, but holy shit is it ever a kick ass movie. Viggo Mortensen plays a midwest family man whose life gets turned upside down when some bad ass drifters try to rob his diner and kill everyone in it. I don’t want to give too much away about the plot, because this movie has a lot of unexpected twists and turns.

Nothing about this movie feels like a Cronenberg movie, but it fits into his resume perfectly, somehow. It’s all about violence and what growns underneath the normal world. Viggo gives an amazing performance

This movie should make him a real star, instead of “that guy with the sword in those hobbit movies.” Maria Bello gives an incredible performance as his wife, and the sex scenes between them are smoking hot. The kid who plays their teenage son is great, too. There’s a locker room confrontation with the school bully that plays out in a way I’ve never seen in a movie before. It’s just smart and funny and very, very real.

For a movie called A History of Violence and directed by David Cronenberg, there’s not a lot of violence, but those scenes are incredible - you feel every punch, every bullet. The scenes are visceral and real and painful. Ed Harris gives yet another great performance as an old mobster who thinks he recognizes Viggo from the old days, and the makeup is incredible - it really looks like one of his eyes got torn up with barbed wire, the scarring is that real.

William Hurt shows up at the end and gives the kind of insane, energized performance you’ve never seen him give before. He’s astonishing.

Like I said, I don’t want to give away too much about the plot because it’s loaded with great twists and turns, and I challenge anyone to figure out where it’s headed. Cronenberg’s in top form. I’ve never seen a Cronenberg film with so much bright sunlight in it, but it looks amazing, and it’s paced beautifully. He gets incredible performances out of everyone - place your money on Maria Bello finally getting that nomination she’s been due since The Cooler off of this one - and the tension just builds and builds and builds until the amazing final shot.

I admit it, I enjoyed his arty movies of the last few years, but it’s awesome seeing Cronenberg step into the big studio ring and score a major knock-out. If you liked Mystic River and Unforgiven, you're gonna love it. This movie rocks.

That’s two great reviews for it here on AICN already. I’m dying to lay eyes on it myself. Can’t wait until New Line starts screening it for reviewers this fall.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • March 1, 2005, 1:08 p.m. CST

    by wreckbless

    its a dirty game

  • March 1, 2005, 1:09 p.m. CST

    Has anyone read the book?

    by vikingkitty

    I'd like to hear from someone that has read John Wagner's book; I'm thinking about picking it up, but don't want to waste my time if it's not worth it.

  • March 1, 2005, 1:13 p.m. CST

    the book

    by stvnhthr

    The graphic novel kicks major butt. Vince Locke draws an incredibley suspenseful tale with expert use of light and shadow. The book packs some serious punch; I'm still chilled from the scene where the two childhood friends are reunited, that is an image I'll take to my grave.

  • March 1, 2005, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Here's hopin'

    by BarrelRider

    Shit, this flick sounds pretty damn cool! I would love to see a story like this told by the man who made Shivers - please let it live up to the hype!!

  • March 1, 2005, 1:19 p.m. CST

    One complaint about the redesign: where's the spoiler warnings?

    by Lenny Nero

  • March 1, 2005, 1:23 p.m. CST

    I was thinking it would be a documentary.

    by rev_skarekroe

  • March 1, 2005, 1:29 p.m. CST

    Cronenberg IS relevant!

    by Silver Shamrock

    To me anyway. Fuck everyone else. Except for the tactical error of using BETA tapes in Videodrome, the film looks less and less like sci-fi these days doesn't it? eXistenZ is still pretty damn relevant as well, anticipating the next few decades of electronics. It might not be a question of him being relevant, maybe his stuff is so far ahead of it's time instead of being contemporary. As far as him being marginalized, that what happens when you don't have the evolving sensablities of a Michael Bay. Crony's an Art House kind of guy and likes it that way.

  • March 1, 2005, 1:31 p.m. CST


    by Mafu

    I'm a part-time fan of Cronenberg, which means I dig about half the movies I've seen by him. "Videodrome," "Scanners," and "Naked Lunch" were all films I enjoyed just for their ultra-weird visceral edginess. I also liked "Spider," but that movie was less gory and tweaked than his earlier works. On the other hand, I didn't enjoy "Existenz" or "Dead Ringers." I thought the former lacked a well-constructed conclusion, and I felt cheated by it. "Dead Ringers" was just an odd movie, and I was sick of Jeremy Irons' twin characters by the end. I'm excited by the positive reviews of "A History of Violence," though, so I'll go see Cronenberg's newest when it hits theaters.

  • March 1, 2005, 1:33 p.m. CST

    Oh! I thought this was a Documentary.

    by cookylamoo

    Starting in caveman times and going up to Iraq.

  • And that's a good thing.There's nothing wrong with a more accessible Cronenberg.

  • March 1, 2005, 1:34 p.m. CST

    Silver Shamrock, I agree

    by BillEmic

    I was actually kind of surprised to see Moriarty say that Cronenberg wasn't relevant. I mean, if you judge by ticket sales then he's not exactly a blockbuster director...but the man has always had his finger on the pulse of whatever's going on just below the surface in the US (err, Canada too). His films remain fresh and original, and stand up to repeated viewings. Hell, I just saw "Videodrome" for the first time a few months back and I was blown away. I can't wait for this next one. The last two reviews have been so positive I would almost label them plants - except I can't even imagine a studio sending in a plant for a Cronenberg movie. I can't wait to see it.

  • March 1, 2005, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Cronenberg has always turned down the big budget movies..

    by BigTuna

    So if he doesn't seem "relevant" it's because he prefers smaller films that are less seen. He was actually the first choice to direct Total Recall. BUt turned it down for being too big of a production.

  • March 1, 2005, 2:05 p.m. CST


    by Karl Childers

  • March 1, 2005, 2:09 p.m. CST

    Oscar nominations

    by Frank Black

    The only way this will get any nominations is if it is released in the last 3 months of the year because Hollywood never recognizes anything older than 6 months. I hate the American mainstream movies more every day. Bring on Cronenberg's new one!

  • March 1, 2005, 2:15 p.m. CST

    PL _ _ T

    by thomasgaffney

    I'll give you a hint... PLANT!

  • March 1, 2005, 2:43 p.m. CST

    3 great reviews on this site, you know what that means...

    by StudioPlant69

    Time to water the PLANTS!!! thomasgaffney, you are correct sir! GFY

  • March 1, 2005, 2:52 p.m. CST

    Among those who appreciate good movies...

    by Childe Roland

    ...I have yet to find someone who doesn't regard Cronenberg as at least relevant. They may not enjoy his particular style or the subject matter he chooses to indulge, but they recognize quality work and its influence on other film makers when they see it. Is Mori trying to say that relevance accompanies popular acceptance by the majority of mainstream movie goers? Is he saying that every popular movie is relevant? Gosh... I hope not. Because if Dick Dawson taught us anything (other than drink all you want and smooch every woman you can), it's that the top one hundred answers on the board are not necessarily the right answers.

  • March 1, 2005, 3:11 p.m. CST


    by BitterMan23

    How much coke did he do on the set?

  • March 1, 2005, 3:37 p.m. CST


    by Right Bastard

    My favorite Cronenberg work is still as Buttonhead in "Nightbreed". I wish Clive Barker would get off his ass and release the Special Edition Extended DVD already. He mentioned it at a book signing I was at over a year ago.

  • March 1, 2005, 4:12 p.m. CST

    The book is great

    by Toxic Frog

    I just read it this week for the first time. Highly recommended, and with Cronenberg directing it should be a great movie.

  • March 1, 2005, 4:59 p.m. CST

    Sounds kinda like Straw Dogs

    by Garbageman33

    At least, from the sketchy information given in this review. And no, I don't think it's a plant. If it starred Queen Latifah, maybe. But this sounds like it has really good people in it. I love the idea of Ed Harris playing a villain.

  • March 1, 2005, 5:53 p.m. CST

    In other news...

    by Spike Fett

    The trailer for Ep. III will preimiere during the March 10th airing of "The O.C."

  • March 1, 2005, 7:02 p.m. CST

    Cronenberg and Relevancy

    by genro

    Mori is right in the sense that Cronenberg hasn't delivered a film that shook up the genre or industry since Dead Ringers. While Crash made noise, it didn't have the resonance Ringers, The Fly, Videodrome or Scanners had with the audience and critics. It sounds like HoV has a chance to do that once again. As for his history with big budget films, Cronenberg has tried to make a few over the past few years, (Basic Instinct II the most famous), because even though it's nice to have autonomy, if you want to tackle a big project you need the capital. Cronenberg has had to scramble together a mix of Canadian Govt/private investors and studio pick-up to get his last few films made. By doing HoV, he now has the personal finance to shoot Painkillers for a lower tag.

  • March 1, 2005, 7:17 p.m. CST


    by Dannychico

    Vile weeds!

  • March 1, 2005, 8:13 p.m. CST

    BETA tapes

    by MonkeyBytes

    The BETA tapes never really bothered me, since Beta was being used in the video industry for years after it failed in the pre-recorded market. They were a better, more professional format that lasted for years until S-VHS decks came around to replace the aging BetaMax decks. Since Max was in video, being a Beta guy made sense to me even years later. Heck, you can still buy Beta tapes from Sony.

  • March 2, 2005, 1:10 a.m. CST

    Off-topic: Shot by shot description of second Ep. III trailer

    by drompter

    Man, it this is real (and something in my guts tells me it is), then HOLLY MOTHER OF SAMBAMBO!!!

  • March 2, 2005, 1:46 a.m. CST

    Are there any real reviews left on this site, or just press rele

    by heywood jablomie

    This is bullshit. VIOLENCE is a horrible movie. Bleh!

  • March 2, 2005, 10:12 a.m. CST

    The book is great!

    by Uncapie

    The book is very well thought out. Cronenberg could have easily shot his film from the novel using it as a storybord reference. The story draws you into a solid tale of revenge, retribution and salavation. Ed Harris is a brilliant actor and I'm sure he'll do justice as the mobster who was taken advantage of. With Cronenberg's twist, I'm sure it'll be good.

  • March 2, 2005, 5:08 p.m. CST

    total plant.

    by matrix69