Talk about the most gruesome and graphically intense movie of the year. It's not playing in Fort Collins yet, but a trip to Denver to catch a showing of David Cronenburg's latest "A History of Violence" is certainly justified.
Viggo Mortenson sure changed out of his Aragon outfit for this one. Mortenson stars as Tom Stall, a diner owner in Podunksville, Ind., living your normal, everyday lackadaisical lifestyle until one out-of-the-ordinary night.
Just as he's closing up shop, two unruly customers stroll in demanding coffee and money at gunpoint. Thinking fast, Stall hucks the steaming pot into an evildoer's face, jumps over the counter, grabs the gun and blasts both 'em away before you can blink an eye.
Unfortunately for Stall, the notoriety he receives for his heroic efforts bring mobster Ed Harris and friends into town, claiming Stall is actually former hit man Joey Cussack from Philadelphia, starting a series of rumors and blame games filled to the brim with gory violence and near-pornographic bedroom scenes.
If the name Cronenburg doesn't ring a bell, maybe his past efforts, "The Fly," "Scanners" or "Naked Lunch" will. The pace of the story and the way it unfolds seems new and refreshing, with the underlying hints of social commentary revealed in a blunt and brutal fashion. The story does such an incredible job of showing the dramatic effects of a family's life when violence enters the picture.
Stall's son Jack, played by Ashton Holmes, is constantly getting bullied for being the dork, and the series of events that unfolds with his waning restraint is such an incredible and uncomfortable comment on youth violence.
As far as Oscar performances go, look for nominations of both Mortensen and Harris, as the two seemed to put themselves out on a limb and stray from their norm for this one. Thank goodness they did too, as both delivered excellent roles, portraying two dudes you definitely don't want to mess with.
The violence is definitely not for the weak of heart, delivering some of the most realistic looking bullet/sharp-object wounds since the old 80s cannibal flicks. If that doesn't sound like your bag, or a little harder than soft-porn isn't doing it for you, maybe "Oliver Twist" would make for a more enjoyable afternoon at the cinema.
5 out of 5 rams heads