Cronenberg is hit or miss with me. While I liked Crash despite most people not getting it, I thought his latest, Spider was a bore. However with A History of Violence, he has hit a bullís eye.
A History of Violence is one of the strongest movies of his career. Powerful and evocative, although certainly not subtle, A History of Violence is the story of a manís past caching up to him and the consequences of his former decisions. However itís also an optimistic tale although I donít want to get too much into that.
Much has been made of the violence. However in the age of Kill Bill and CSI there is little here we havenít seen before. Much has also been made of the two sex scenes which also seems ridiculous due to the amount of nudity and sexualization in the average hip hop video.
What is bothering people is the truthful nature of these scenes. The violence is not glamorized or stylized. Instead itís abrupt and pregnant with consequence. This makes audience who are used to Sin City style cartoonishness uncomfortable.
The sex scenes are handled with the same honesty. They reflect what people actually do in bed, not what soft-porn stars do in front of the camera. Also, what is the most jarring for the average audience is that they occur between a husband and wife. shocking!
I must mention how much I am in love with Maria Bello and her amazing performance. She tops herself every film. Also, watch out for William Hurt. He's so much more fun as a character actor than a leading man.
A History of Violence is the kind of film that resonates with you long after the lights have gone up. Much ado has also been made about this being Cronenbergís first mainstream or accessible film which is also ridiculous due to the fact that heís had quite a few smash hits in his career. Maybe audiences are just now catching up to his work as a film maker.