A History of Violence (2005)

I finally had a chance to watch this (DVD) on the weekend and I felt it lived up to all of the hype. One of the best films of the year? Sure. Why not.

I’m not a David Cronenberg fan, but this is easily his most likeable/accessible/mainstream film to date. It’s a little predictable at times but a solid film. Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello are great but Ed Harris and William Hurt as wise guys? Come on!

Ed Harris is great at being creepy and didn’t need makeup to achieve that. Is he believable as a mobster from Philly? Not a chance.

Then there is William Hurt. His accent was terrible and he was nominated for best supporting actor role? I must have missed something. Maybe I’ve been watching The Soprano’s for too long.

It was interesting to see how Cronenberg used Toronto, King City, Port Perry and Millbrook, Ontario for various American locations. There are a lot of great extras on the DVD that you’ll appreciate if you’re curious about the filmmaking process..

I wasn’t surprised to find out that Cronenberg comes to the set without any storyboards or notes for his actors, director of photography or sound crew. It was interesting to see his process for developing a scene — working collaboratively with the crew and rehearsing until he feels ready to film. Obviously it works for him.

There is also an interesting featurette on makeup and special effects. If you’re wondering how Viggo Mortenson was able to smash an actor’s nose into his skull then this is for you.

Lastly, there is an interesting comparison between the international and American versions of the film. It seems that the MPAA doesn’t like squirting blood, even if it is only shown for a quarter of a second. Blink and you won’t be able to tell the differences between the two versions but you will conclude that the MPAA is a complete waste of time.

Posted in DVD Reviews at 4:03 PM