Tuesday 30 June 2009

A History of Violence

I had high expectations for this movie as I have read some rave reviews about it. The movie started slowly and not too convincingly but I thought it would pick up. Unfortunately it didn't. There's just so much wrong in this movie. I wouldn't mind the simple story of a man living a happy family life being caught up with his past if the script and acting was good but in this case neither is. There are just so many unnecessary scenes in this movie that you have to wonder what the contents would have been if they had been removed as already the movie only last just over an hour and a half.

The opening scene in itself is completely unneeded. The two guys are bad, ok we get that. But it was obvious in the scene where they enter the diner and after that it doesn't matter any more. These two characters are really only the vehicle to get the movie going, now they got too much screen time as they are not particularly interesting. Quite the opposite, in fact.

The baseball scene at the beginning is another scene that I don't understand. The whole point is to show that one of the school mates of Jack's is a bully. But that becomes apparent right in the next scene. There is nothing particularly interesting in the baseball scene despite it being built up like there was (Tom and Jack talking about it earlier). There are quite a few scenes which don't really serve anything, they are not even interesting, have witty dialogue or good acting. They are just a waste of time.

Jack also gets a lot of screen time and it's apparent that Cronenberg just wants to show how violent tendencies are inherited. Trouble is, again, that these scenes feel disconnected and the message is far too obvious. The whole Jack plot is added to add some depth but it just doesn't work.

Acting and dialogue are another issue. Both are pretty poor. The only actor that comes through with something of an intact reputation is Ed Harris and he only has to play a simple bad guy role.

Ending of the movie is another disappointment. You could see it coming and it is only made worse by the terrible acting of William Hurt.

All in all, the core plot of the movie is ok but it is hidden behind numerous scenes that don't serve it and the rest is spoiled by mediocre acting and uninteresting dialogue. And I didn't even mention the sex scenes that were unneeded.

** / *****

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