A History of Violence (2005) mini review

based on a comic

A History of Violence is an exploration of the cycle of violence and whether or not, once begun, it can be stopped.

Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is a small-town diner owner and family man who garners national attention when he foils a robbery in his diner late one night. He also gains the attention of a mobster (Ed Harris, Creepshow) from Philadelphia who mistakes him for a gangster with which he has an old score to settle.

With this kind of subject matter, you can't expect a film made for all ages; but the story is engaging, if you can handle a movie with adult subject matter. Directed by David Cronenberg (best known for 80's thrillers such as Videodrome and The Fly, and the more recent VR experiment eXistenZ), Violence is edgy, intense, and worth a watch.

The film is based on the graphic novel of the same name, written by John Wagner (probably best known for co-creating Judge Dredd). It was published by DC - first under the Paradox Press imprint, then under Vertigo. A History of Violence also includes Sumela Kay (Kittie Pryde, X-Men) and Stephen McHattie (who's had appearances in Birds of Prey, Mutant X, M.A.N.T.I.S., and voiced Shade in Justice League), and Greg Bryk (Mutant X, and an upcoming XIII mini-series (!)).

See it if you can handle a mature insight into the cycle of violence.

Don't see it if you're looking for "family friendly".

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