A Couple Thoughts: “A History of Violence”

A History of Violence:

Saw David Cronenberg’s “A History of Violence” a few hours ago. It was a work of brevity. Almost nothing included that did not add to the central themes of the story. That was nice for a change.

**Spoilers ahead**

I enjoyed the film. I even enjoyed the violence, which was portrayed in a brutal, realistic fashion in contrast to the usual sterile Hollywood approach where people die without pain or blood. In that way it reminded me of some of the scenes in the Bourne films where the combatants end up sweating and bruised. Real violence is not like “The Matrix”. It is an exhausting mess.

It was interesting to see the audience uncomfortable during the sex scenes, but not during the depictions of extreme violence. Maybe the passion of sex is more intimate than the passion of violence and therefore more uncomfortable for viewers? Or, maybe the audience has actual experience with sex but not violence and that makes a difference in response? Who knows.

After reading some of the comments on the IMDB forums, it is strange to see how different two viewers opinions about the film can be. It is one of those movies that people love or hate, and a number of people did not like this movie. The story deals with the weight of the past and the hope for redemption and change. In the case of Tom, the protagonist, he tries to bury his past, but it ends up finding him anyway despite his best efforts to pretend he’s someone else. The resolution comes with his settling of past problems, by facing and accepting them. Only then could he move on. There is also the idea of how other people can keep you from changing. Some people will always see you the way they want to see you, rather than the way you want to be or the way you are.

Update: Cronenberg is directing the film adaptation of Martin Amis’ London Fields.

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