Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, Maria Bello and William Hurt
Director: David Cronenberg
DAVID Cronenberg has been exploring all kinds of themes of violence for more than 30 years.
He began with parasites and rabid plagues and broods, segued into more mainstream styles with Videodrome and The Dead Zone, but always veered towards the bizarre from Dead Ringers and Naked Lunch to ExistenZ and Spider.
Which means that some critics are going to scold him for now making A History of Violence, a well crafted American mainstream drama.
Initially, one might think that this is going to be a kind of Desperate Hours where thugs besiege a family. It is not.
Cronenberg’s film is based on a graphic novel (and some of the violence is graphic also) where drawings are bold and dialogue is sometimes fierce.
However, we are first led into lyrical, non-violent, happy times for a family. When the violence breaks out, it is not where we anticipated it.
Viggo Mortensen does a persuasive job as the loving, quiet, family man who surprises everyone.
A good cast includes Maria Bello as his strong-minded wife, Ed Harris as a suited gangster and William Hurt as a maniacal organised crime boss.
It is easy to poke fun at picket fence idealised family life in the American Midwest but, given some vicious options in the US gun culture, most of us would feel safer there.