A History of Violence (53)

I went to see A History of Violence tonight. I really didn’t know much about it beyond the TV commercials/trailers and a bit of Viggo Mortensen’s rambling on “The Daily Show.” It ended up being both exactly what I expected and nothing like what I expected — many scenes were more graphic than I would have expected, everything was played up to its absolute dramatic hilt, sometimes at the expense of sense or, well, good dialogue. I gathered from the intro credits that the film was adapted from a graphic novel, and parts of it — the exaggerated parts — really had that feel. Viggo Mortensen was good, though, really good. His character is essentially a split — mild mannered Tom Stall, who says things like “holy cow!”, and behind him, Joey Cusak, this hideous murderer who tore a guy’s eyeball out with barbed wire — and he plays the split perfectly. I believed both of the characters. There’s a scene where he’s in a hospital bed, and he looks like Tom but his voice, his accent, is Joey.

The movie was supposed to be, I think, a kind of dramatic meditation on the evils that can lurk beneath the surface — the idea that we all have a dark side, a bad guy within — and it was played out in a splash with Tom but also with his son, Jack. I think I wanted a bit more subtlety in the way the whole Jack-has-a-fighting-side-too bit was played out. Also, side note, I wanted Jack to be a bit less like “The OC”‘s Seth Cohen.

So, very dramatic and graphic and drawn-feeling, a very exaggerated movie overall, but with a small film feel to it. Film #53 for the year in the theater, and it’s warped my brain a little. That’s a compliment, though.

Later this week, I plan to see:
1). Mysterious Skin, because it’s set in my hometown, apparently.
2). Proof, probably in Kansas City, probably on Saturday
3). Thumbsucker, also probably in KC, also probably on Saturday

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6 Responses to A History of Violence (53)

  1. therealjae says:

    Seriously set in your hometown?

    -J

  2. webcowgirl says:

    Hey, do you ever read ? Her stuff is really funny. Stole a load of icons from her today.

  3. kepkanation says:

    Yep. The main character is “Brian Lackey (Brady Corbet), a troubled 18 year-old, growing up in the stiflingly small town of Hutchinson, Kansas.”

    Ah, stiflingly small seems a bit of an exaggeration, but the guy who wrote the novel that it’s based on is apparently from Hutch, so… perhaps he knows what he’s talking about.

  4. phillyexpat says:

    I really liked both A History of Violence and Mysterious Skin. Joseph Gordon Levitt is a force of nature.

    I also found Violence to be very literary-I saw the film as divided into distinct chapters. Am also glad you picked up on the voice changes-Viggo is VERY talented!

  5. kepkanation says:

    I haven’t before but now I’ve been browsing for a bit and it does look entertaining. And her book looks fun, too! Thanks for the heads-up.

  6. kepkanation says:

    I do enjoy Mr. Levitt (Mr. Gordon Levitt?). And Viggo, yes, he’s spectacular. I’m glad he got the role in Lord of the Rings for many reasons, but in particular that it’s lifted him from being a great second-string actor to being someone who gets picked to carry/star in films.

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