Comics Movie Reviews
A History of Violence
By Hervé St.Louis
October 10, 2005 - 22:08

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Ashton Holmes
Directed by: David Cronenberg
Produced by: Kent Alterman, David Cronenberg, Cale Boyter From The Comic Book by John Wagner and Vince Locke
Running Time: 1 hr. 38 min.
Release Date: September 23th, 2005
Rating: R
Distributors: New Line Cinema

A History of Violence

A History of Violence is the loose adaptation of John Wagner and Vince Locke’s graphic novel about Tom Stall, local hero which the mob confuses for assassin Joey Cusack after he stops some mobster from looting his diner. Stall’s idyllic life with his family is in a small town in Indiana is on the verge of collapsing as the threats and accusations from the mobsters, threaten his marriage.

Cronenberg’s thriller reveals each major plot element slowly. Mortensen as Stall is excellent and believable. His love for his family and seeming madness is intense. Maria Bello, playing Stall’s wife, is a strong woman protecting her family and husband with conviction. The villains look like they stepped out of a comic book, and their big town aroma is a great contrast with the small town setting. The story works on several levels, thanks to the quiet moment and small gestures from characters, revealing more about their personalities and motivations than dialogues.

The first shot last about five minutes, increasing the sense of dread of the upcoming sequence of violence in the rest of the film. Several transitions between sequences are linked with either visual or story elements, creating entire compositions throughout the film. The sequence where Stall walks to work by and returns home quickly by foot is quite effective in framing the action and its narrative.

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