HTL MotWC - June 18 - A History of Violence

Discussion in 'Movie Lounge' started by Steve Tannehill, Jun 2, 2007.

  1. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill New Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    A History of Violence - Amazon HTL Affiliate Link


    A History of Violence is the story of a family-oriented, small-town cafe owner whose murderous past may have just caught up with him. With a star turn by Viggo Mortensen, and strong supporting performances by Maria Bello, Ed Harris, and William Hurt, A History of Violence defies convention and cliche.

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

    - Steve
  2. Mike Kelly

    Mike Kelly Active Member

    Film Comment Magazine, the official publication of The Film Society of Lincoln Center is considered the country's most respected cinematic journal. I archived their list of the best films of 2005. Here are their top twenty choices. Look what made #1, and by a very good margin at that.

    (Released theatrically in the U.S.)
    1. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, U.S.) 775 points
    2. 2046 (Wong Kar Wai, China/Hong Kong/France) 668
    3. Kings and Queen (Arnaud Desplechin, France) 549
    4. Cach?/Hidden (Michael Haneke, France/Austria/Germany/Italy) 501
    5. Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, U.S./Canada) 490
    6. The Squid and the Whale (Noah Baumbach, U.S.) 474
    7. Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, U.S.) 470
    8. Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand) 458
    9. The World (Jia Zhangke, China) 401
    10. Capote (Bennett Miller, U.S.) 384
    11. Good Night, And Good Luck. (George Clooney, U.S.) 330
    12. The Holy Girl (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina) 314
    13. Saraband (Ingmar Bergman, Sweden) 289
    14. Land of the Dead (George Romero, U.S.) 276
    15. Head-On (Fatih Akin, Germany/Turkey) 259
    16. Last Days (Gus Van Sant, U.S.) 256
    17. Munich (Steven Spielberg, U.S.) 251
    18. The Intruder (Claire Denis, France) 223
    19. Me and You and Everyone We Know (Miranda July, U.S.) 217
    20. Syriana (Stephen Gaghan, U.S.) 208

    Personally, it finished #7 on my Top 10 list, and it was one of the few films that improved on second viewing. I actually needed two viewings to better understand the primary characters and their motivations. This is a great film for discussion, Steve.
  3. Tyson

    Tyson New Member

    Great pick. It should be a real treat for anyone who has not seen it.
  4. chad

    chad Well-Known Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    I have not seen it, looking forward to it!
  5. Chris Smith

    Chris Smith Well-Known Member

    Saw this one in the theater and am looking forward to seeing it again.
  6. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill New Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    I'll also highly recommend the supplements. They are not just your typical EPK--they truly go behind-the-scenes on how the movie was made (with spoilers, of course).

    I'll meander about the movie the week of the 18th... meanwhile, time for some trains. :)

    - Steve
  7. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    I've seen this. I'll have to decide if I need to see it again or if I can keep up with/add to the discussion.
  8. Sean80

    Sean80 New Member

    I've seen the movie and read the graphic novel, both of which are great. There's a lot in the graphic novel that didn't make it into the movie.
  9. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill New Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    This is on HBO this month (even in HD!)

    - Steve
  10. LarryB

    LarryB Active Member

    I saw this film wih Carl and his better half, when we were in Denver for the RMAF. I enjoyed the film.

  11. Shane

    Shane Active Member

    I enjoyed this a great deal. I may have to see this again in order to participate in a discussion. I really really enjoyed it.
  12. Andrew Beacom

    Andrew Beacom New Member

    I thought it was a nice film and Aaragorn, er Viggo, did a good job. ;)
  13. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill New Member War Zone Member Top Poster

    I watched this for the second time tonight, from an HD recording off of HBO.

    It holds up well on a second viewing.

    I am going to post spoilers, so stop reading here if you want to see the movie first.






    Was Joey gone for so long that Tom truly forgot his past until he was put into a life-threatening situation? Was he lying to others, or just lying to himself?

    What did you think of the naughty cheerleader vs. gangsta sex?

    At what point did you know that Tom was a killer? Were you still in denial (as I was) even after he killed the man with his bare hands? Did it take the "I should have killed you back in Philly" line to convince you, as it did me?

    What was Jack's history of violence? Was it strictly learned from his father? Strictly a reaction to the situation at hand? Would Jack have killed had he realized that it was Joey who he was saving? Or is killing something that is necessary depending on the situation?

    Was this movie pro-violence or anti-violence?

    Do you get the feeling that the serial killers we see in the beginning of the film are there to emphasize how brutal killers can be? Didn't one of the men look a little like Tom/Joey?

    What a great movie...

    - Steve
  14. Drew Mitten

    Drew Mitten New Member

    For a mind gobbling teenager as myself, that was an excellent movie! Bloody. Violent.Swearing.Really good movie.
  15. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin War Zone Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    Steve, I haven't seen this one in a while and may re-watch it if I have some free time but one thing I took away from the film was the general concept of how two-faced we are with respect to violence. When its the bad guys, we cringe, feel ill, HATE that bad person etc. when its John McClain or Tom Stall its "RIP HIS FUCKING FACE OFF! ARGGGGHHHH!!" Know what I mean? So I'm not sure its like pro-violence (as in, violence is OK to protect our loved ones) or anti-violence. I think the point is that its not absolute. I think that is what we are supposed to ponder.

    There were several events in this film that struck me as very unrealistic which has always puzzled me. Was it a good concept, executed sloppily? I find that hard to believe considering the overall work on this film.
  16. Mike Kelly

    Mike Kelly Active Member

    Here are my thoughts on A History of Violence:

    A History of Violence has a terrific opening in a single 4 minute take. Cronenberg is telling us that this is a movie about violence and it can creep up on you and it is ugly. He has had a tendency in his movies to show fleshy portal type openings in the human body and his images of blown away cheeks, misplaced noses and nasty eye scars are graphic examples of the violence he is filming about.

    After the hero act and the entrance of Fogerty (Ed Harris) I was thinking that this was either a 'Wrong Man' movie or a 'Hidden Past' movie. The hidden past scenerio seemed the more interesting and soon it was confirmed. The first hurdle to clear as a viewer is that Tom has successfully buried his past for 20 years. That's a long time for someone not to show any hint of the violence in him. Like an alcoholic, it doesn't matter how long you go without. Once you get your first taste back, it is nearly impossible to ignore. Even so, Cronenberg has carefully avoided showing Tom as the aggressor, even after Joey shows his face again. All of his actions follow provacation. I think it stretches credibility, but I went with it anyway.

    Cronenberg said in his commentary, that he tried to avoid over exposition. He allowed the interchanges within the scenes with the sheriff and Joey's brother to flesh out the relationships, rather that shoot additional set-up type scenes. I think this was a good decision, and the pace of the film seems perfect. I did feel however that by not referring to any consequences to the triple killing at Tom's house which involved his son and also his being shot, was a little lackadaisical.

    The scenes at his brother's mansion in Philly were interesting. While I can admire William Hurt's offbeat performance, I can't say I was totally satisfied with it.

    Of course the final scene is one of the most interesting in the film. The only guidelines in the screenplay according to the commentary (the scene is without dialogue) is "there's hope" It is beautifully played by all four family members. While it doesn't give any clearcut answers, I think there's a tentative acceptance of Tom. If I were them, however I wouldn't sneak up on him from behind and tap him on the shoulder. You may end up with your nose being pushed out of your ear :)

    There's a lot going on in this film. I think it really needs a couple of viewings.
  17. Mikael Soderholm

    Mikael Soderholm Active Member Donor

    My take (and my girlfriend's) on the final scene was the same, we both thought of this line early in the movie: "I remember the moment I knew you were in love with me. I saw it in your eyes. I can still see it."
    And he still can, even at table at the end of the movie.

    Also, the history of violence will probably continue, as his son shows. He is not a violent person, but when pushed hard enough, he also has it in him.

    Very interesting movie, very rewatchable, excellent acting. Not a typical Cronenberg, but it still has some blood and gore, but not much, by Cronenberg standards ;)

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