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