A History of Violence

Year 2005


Viggo Mortensen   as  Tom Stall
Maria Bello as Edie Stall
William Hurt as Richie Cusack
Ed Harris as Carl Fogarty
Peter MacNeill as Sheriff Sam Carney   
Director - David Cronenberg
Screenwriter - Josh Olson  
Comic Book Author  - John Wagner   

It's not a "Comic Book", it's a "Graphic Novel"! This just in! It's a comic book.

By that, I mean it lacks depth. This is, pure and simply, a dumb movie that should have never been made. Well, if Ed Woods or Uwe Bolle had directed it, then maybe it wouldn't appear on this bad list. But, this was a David Cronenberg film and he should be held to a higher standard.

A history of violins? No, a history of violence.

First, let's get the good stuff out of the way. Ed Harris. When he's on the screen, the movie is believable. When he leaves the movie, it's like he takes the life of the film with him. And I'm not a big Ed Harris fan.

Second, I didn't find out that it was adapted from a comic book until after I saw and formed an opinion about the movie. So, I wasn't predisposed to either like or dislike the movie before I saw it. I bought and watched the movie for one reason - it's a David Cronenberg film.

Third, the movie stinks.

Plot? Man with a past has his past uncovered. He's not what he appears to be...or is he?

Well, I'm going to give it away. Don't worry, even though this is the only hook, it's given away about halfway through the movie. Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is hiding out. He's been hiding out for decades. No one cares.

Then, one day he stops a crime. After decades of being a mope, he springs into life and into action! Wow! He stops a crime! It's national freakin' news! He stopped a crime using his latent superior ass whoopin' skills. He's like...like...like a Power Puff Girl only he can't fly. This is serious national news stuff.

So, you've got yer dumbass local Sheriff who does nothing. He doesn't even really move the plot along. Fitting for a comic book, perhaps, but not a movie.

You've also got William Hurt playing a crime boss. William Hurt is one of those actors who is only convincing if he's playing dead people because they don't stretch his range. He's ruined a lot of movies in his career.

And worst of all, you've got Viggo Mortenson. Wasn't that the guy in the painting in the second Ghost Buster's movie? (It's a joke. I say, it's a joke, son.)

Viggo has greater range than William Hurt, but that only means that he can play live people provided that they have accents. It does not mean that he can play someone who's an ex-torpedo. It does not mean that he can play someone from "back East". And it does not mean that he can play "Joe Everyman".

What he should play is a deaf mute.

Every minute this guy's on-screen is a minute in butchered English and unconvincing reactions. From the raping of his wife (after that things were better between them) to his killer's glazed eyes (yeah, right), Viggo is painful to watch.

But I stuck with it, because it was a David Cronenberg film. There had to be a payoff to make it worth watching. There had to be character development. There had to be something more! There wasn't.

Tom Stall returns to the scene of his sin to set things straight. (I can be alliterative, too.) Bang, bang, boom, boom, they're straight. He had to, right? I mean with his history of violence and all there was no other way. Oh, that darned history. If you don't study it, you're doomed to repeat it.

Peter Parker has a more convoluted life. Tony Stark is filled with more dichotomy. Mickey freakin' Mouse is more interesting. "Graphic novel" my sweet patootie.

Give this one a big wave and don't waste your time.

Back to the simply bad or the main movie list.